On November 25, 2019, the New Space of the Theater of Nations premiered the multimedia performance I Killed the Tsar staged by holder of two Golden Mask Awards Mikhail Patlasov. This is an attempt to restore the events connected with the execution of Nicholas II and his family in Yekaterinburg in July 1918, based only on irrefutable facts.
The part of the last Russian emperor is played by the People's Artist of Russia, Aristic Director of the Theater of Nations, Evgeny Mironov. Olga Belinskaya from Alexandrinsky Theater plays the part of Empress Alexandra Fedorovna. The part of Tsarevich Alexei is played by a 13-year-old actor Ivan Shchenin. In total, 35 theater and film actors participate in I Killed the Tsar.
The performance is based on thousands of historical documents collected from the largest Russian archives and museums over the course of almost two years. The multimedia component is implemented using Samsung Gear VR virtual reality glasses and Sennheiser HD 100 headphones.
“Every text and every fact used in our performance is confirmed by archival documents,” the director Mikhail Patlasov says. - Many of them are preserved, and this allows us to focus not only on the royal family, but also on all those who took part in the execution, and to trace their fates. It is known that the family of Nicholas II was fond of photography, so thousands of photographs were preserved, and that is why we decided to reconstruct their images and came up with a special optical scheme, thanks to which old photographs can be turned into videos. With the help of VR glasses, viewers can get inside these photos, inside the story, where Tsarevich Aleksey becomes its protagonist. It is his questions to the murderers, posed one hundred years after the execution, that make up the core for the whole plot of the performance.”
The family and courtiers of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II were shot on the night of July 16-17, 1918 in Yekaterinburg in the basement of the house of Nikolai Ipatiev, an engineer. An investigation into all the circumstances of the case is still ongoing. The creators of the performance I Killed the Tsar tell the story not only from the point of view of the victims of that terrible night, but also from those who carried out the resolution of the Executive Committee of the Ural Regional Council of Workers, Peasants and Soldiers' Deputies. A significant part of the virtual performance is built on the biographies and testimonies of the members of the firing squad.
Documents for the performance were provided by the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Archive of Phonographic Documents, the Russian State Military Historical Archive, the St. Petersburg Branch of the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia and the Museum of the History of Yekaterinburg.