Valery Fokin and his theatre company are a legend of Russian theatre, and ‘Artaud and His Double’ is not only a bold theatre form, but also offers an insight into a complex issue of functioning in the theatre world. Artaud and his Theatre of Cruelty constituted one of the most extreme approaches to theatre, neither fully realized nor fulfilled. Folkin refers to the figure of this great revolutionary to get a mirror reflection of contemporary theatre. Artaud is not only the author of the manifesto, ‘Theatre and His Double’, but also a legendary madman. This ‘enfant terrible’ of French theatre provided
a challenge and inspiration for Fokin, who as a theatre director asks himself the same questions, which tortured Artaud. The performance begins in the originally arranged space with the public playing the role of café guests. We see Artaud and his double repeating the same gestures. One of them prophesizes his schizophrenia and ends up in the asylum, sharing the fate of Bulhakov’s characters, and the other becomes a famous director, who comes to visit the madman and complains for having such a difficult life. Each of them has got his own identity, but which one has achieved artistic fulfillment? Where does art live: at the national theatre or in the asylum? This question does not surprise Fokin, he got his theatre, while others wonder around. But it is him who asks the question: where does true art belong to?