Parallels is a retrospective created by Rosina Pencheva which is dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Racho Stoyanov Drama Theater – Gabrovo in 2015. The installation contains black-and-white archival footage from the theater's repertoire during its first decades, visually corresponding to independently taken color photographs of their contemporary repertoire shot by Rosina. The exhibition is built on the basis of parallels that allow the viewer to see the archival footage through the eyes of the present and vice versa.
Rosina was researching the photo archive stored in the Theater as well as in the State Archive of Gabrovo. Among the black-and-white photographic copies found in a large format, she recognised the faces of famous actors Petar Slabakov, Nevena Kokanova, Anani Yavashev (brother of artist Christo), and many others who had played on the stage of Gabrovo theater.
To her surprise, she began to find visual similarities with shots she had taken herself on that same stage and decided to show the parallels between the archival photographs dating from the first performance of the Gabrovo Drama Theater in 1945, and the new footage from its last three theatrical seasons (2013–2015).
The video above shows a parallel between a black-and-white photograph from the first performance of the Theater – "Hashove" (1945) by Ivan Vazov, and a color photograph from the contemporary repertoire of the same theater – "Romeo and Juliet" (2013) by William Shakespeare. There is a strong visual resemblance between the two shots – an actor in the role of a "hash" (а rebel in exile) holding a mug with a hand raised high, and an actress (Gergana Zmiicharova) in the role of Juliet holding a bottle of poison with the same gesture.
Rosina Pencheva and Hristo Smirnenski – 1949 National Chitalishte
Gabrovo Drama Theater
Gabrovo State Archive
Gabrovo City Art Gallery
Culture Program (2015), Gabrovo Municipality
Special thanks to:
Atera Design & Print
The Grand Prize: Event of the Year in the Field of Culture in Gabrovo