East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP) supports the
development of contemporary performing arts (dance and theatre)
in 18 countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Totem Center Theatre Lab


Comrade "Gorch Fock"

Information about institution: 

The Totem Center Theatre Lab was created in 2012 as a creative laboratory working at a joint of performing arts and social sciences in such spheres as documentary theater, oral history and public work.

Short history: 

The Laboratory specifics of work imply a project approach. We do not conduct separately researches, we do not write just plays, we do not only stage performances, we are not engaged just in work with space and public. We realize projects which include all these stages – from search of a problem to its decision in the following chain: research-text-performance-presentation-discussion-lobbying. Therefore we have no repertoire. Therefore we are a laboratory, but not theater.

The most important projects: 

The Democracy Verbatim Project

The Democracy Verbatim project started being implemented in October, 2014 with support of the UNPD and the Ministry the Foreign Affairs of the Kingdoms of Denmark. The goal of the project is development and practical approbation of methodology and a technique of carrying out public hearings in a theatrical format. The main stages of implementation of the project have something in common with a basic chain of activity of the Totem Center Theatre Lab – researches, dramatic art, documentary performance, discussion. In the Democracy Verbatim project more attention is given to researches which ideally have to represent a position (positions) of residents, and the procedure of discussion during which there is a search of solutions of a specific problem. For a year of work of the project four public hearings on the basis of the performances “The Day During Which Nothing Happened” (in collaboration with EEPAP), ”Stuff” (2 issues) and “20 Reasons for Temptation” were prepared and carried out.


The Verbatim and Society Workshop

Originally the workshop “Verbatim and society” was supposed to be a seminar in training and dissemination of the verbatim method in Ukraine. Gradually the workshop perspective considerably extended, and now it includes the various directions concerning methodology and methods of obtaining documentary information and its integration in theater.

The first workshop “Verbatim and society” was organized in 2012 together with Teatr.doc (Moscow) and was held on the basis of the Kherson State University. Classes were given by Mikhail Ugarov and Elena Gremina (Teatr.doc), Mykola Homanyuk and Maxim Afanasyev (Totem Center Theatre Lab).

The second workshop “Verbatim and society” was held in 2013 in partnership with the East European Performing Arts Platform. Classes were given by Wojtek Faruga, Joanna Wichowska and Magda Mosewicz (EEPAP) and Natalya Kozarenko (the Ombudsman coordinator in the Kherson Oblast). Following the results of work of the workshop the documentary performance “The Day During Which Nothing Happened” was staged.

International cooperations: 

Inner Mostar, 2014

Director: Maxim Afanasyev

Playwrights: Mykola Homanyuk, Adela Leric, Boris "Vjeva" Maric, Mirela Mijačank

Working with material including interviews to residents of the Bosnian city of Mostar, photos, video, self-reflections the group of authors decided to represent it in the style of “liquid television”, in this case “liquid theater” at which fabric of the performance develops of constantly changing short or very short fragments – dialogues, video inserts, etudes, parodies, stand up shows, interactive with the audience, PowerPoint-presentations. According to the traditions of liquid television the liquid performance appeared to be, actually, without the beginning – it began before the audience entered the hall, and without the end – the performance finished with the open final. When digging in daily occurrence, actors looked for identifications, collective unconscious of residents of this post-war city. It appears that it can be done avoiding historical, political, economic metanarrative and global subjects. The analysis of daily occurrence became the key of understanding of the city.

The performance is created in partnership from Teatar Mladih (Mostar) within the Korzo Festival in the frame of the residence of the East European Performing Arts Platform.


Participation in Spielart Festival-2014