The Black Sperm

Thursday, May 26 19.00
Theatre “Ģertrūdes ielas teātris”, Ģertrūdes Street 101a
Duration: 2h
In Latvian with English translation

Based on stories by Sergey Uhanov
Director, set and costume designer Vladislavs Nastavševs
Light designer Jūlija Bondarenko
Performers: Reinis Boters, Marija Linarte, Jana Ļisova, Āris Matesovičs, Kārlis Tols

Producer: Theatre „Ģertrūdes ielas teātris” (
Premiere on November 13, 2015

“I was a very curious child and decided to use every chance that destiny offered me to explore people and their peculiarities, because every human is unique and one-of-a-kind, but life can be so interesting and sometimes so short,” Sergey Uhanov

It is no coincidence that Vladislavs Nastavševs has chosen to stage The Black Sperm – a collection of short stories, written by a Russian writer from his generation, Sergey Uhanov, in his previous productions the director has already embraced topics favored by Uhanov. The short stories, whose main characters are extraordinary loners and outcasts, conjure up absurd, multi-layered and provocative scenes, in a manner that resembles Russian surrealist Daniil Kharms. Revealing naivety, tenderness, and sexuality, The Black Sperm speaks harshly about realities of life that aren’t always proper and politically correct; nevertheless the heroes of these stories don’t hide themselves and are not ashamed. These are stories about relationships, feelings and self-realization of young people growing up.

Vladislavs Nastavševs (b. 1978) announced himself on the Latvian theatre stage in 2012, vividly and unexpectedly, after returning from studying acting and direction in Saint Petersburg and at Central Saint Martin’s College of Arts and Design in London. Seemingly quickly and organically he found his place among the so-called New Wave of Latvian directors (Valters Sīlis, Elmārs Seņkovs, Viesturs Meikšāns to name a few). However, it was more his age that identified him with this group, since his style bore its own signature. It is determined by his personality and the artistic capacity to transform humor, melancholy, the tiniest details of the everyday into existential experience and the ability to see a show as an integrated work of art in which performers, space, design, words, objects, sound, light and all that can break into the universe of the performance from the outside world play an equal role from the very start. Nastavševs’ debut in Latvian theatre introduced a new relationship between the linguistic and the visual form of the performance. This tension became the dominant force in his work and a challenge to the traditional Latvian approach to staging. Nastavševs brings carefully selective, detail-conscious, radically laconic aesthetics back to the performance. By minimal yet effective tools the artist transforms empty stages into imaginary rooms, playfully overcoming any obstacles which would inhibit the process of thought or imagination and spatial perception, activating, along with audial senses, the viewer’s sight, tactility, their bodies and instincts.