Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

Europe

Satirical dig at Vladimir Putin delights Moscow

Text by Ségolène ALLEMANDOU

Latest update : 2012-03-05

A Russian theatre has taken a satirical dig at Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, imagining what might happen if the brain of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi were transplanted into Putin’s head.

Since coming to power in 2000, Vladimir Putin has revelled in cultivating the tough-guy look, posing shirtless and catching fish, driving Formula 1 cars and showing off his judo skills.

But in the last few weeks, the former KGB agent’s image has been massaged in quite a different way in a sell-out satirical play titled “BerlusPutin”, adapted from Italian work “L’anomalo bicefalo” (the Two-Headed Anomaly) by Nobel prize-winning writer Dario Fo.
 
The play examines what might happen if half of former Italian Prime Minister’s brain were transplanted into Putin’s head, following Berlusconi’s “death” from a heart attack.
 
The absurd premise of the play has allowed the producers to insert just about any Putin-inspired conspiracy theory and hearsay into the plot.
 
“We’re not drawing his psychological profile,” said Serguei Epishev, the actor playing Putin. “Our play is telling a story based on his public declarations, news and rumours.”
The show incorporates accusations of corruption directed at Putin’s entourage, which have grown considerably since his first term as President began in 2000, along with allegations of fraud in Russia’s last round of elections.
 
The image of “Botox” - as his detractors have nicknamed Putin due to his rejuvenating facial injections - also takes a beating in his final incarnation as he morphs into Dobby, the wrinkled elf in the Harry Potter series.
 
His private life is not spared in the play. Putin, who keeps his personal life closely guarded, sends his wife Ludmila to an Orthodox convent (again a subject borrowed from persistent rumours), and fantasises about gymnast Alina Kabaeva, with whom (rumour also has it) he has had an affair.
 
Nor does the play spare Dmitri Medvedev, the ex-prime minister and current president who is widely tipped to take back his former post.
 
Baptised the “little iPhone” for his enthusiasm for modern technology, he plays the role of docile marionette to his master Putin.
 
The show, being played at Moscow’s Teatr.doc – a venue known for mixing theatre and politics – has delighted audiences both as a comedy and also as a political commentary.
 
“The main idea was to show our political position after 20 years of silence and passivity,” said director Varvara Faer. “People who come here are generally fed up with the way the government has been humiliating them."
 
PROFILE: Vladimir Putin's 12 years in power
“Some say that this country isn’t ready for democracy, but that’s simply not true.”
 
Serguei Epichev is less forthright about the play’s political significance.
 
“We’re not drawing his psychological profile,” he repeats. “We are just inspired by the things he has said, and the things people say about him, in order to parody him as a character.
 
“Nevertheless it is interesting to play this kind of role in Russia. Personally, I am not at all happy with the political situation here.”
 
The play has been running since mid-February and is sold out until April.
 
The success does not seem to have upset the government, however.
 
But Faer, who was not hindered in any other way while putting on the show, found herself unable to get the advertising posters printed: “The printers I approached refuse to have anything to do with it because the posters showed Vladimir Putin’s face.”
 
 

Date created : 2012-03-02

  • RUSSIA

    Putin holds comfortable lead ahead of Sunday’s vote

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Russia says Putin assassination plot foiled

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Muscovites link hands to protest Putin's grip on power

    Read more

COMMENT(S)