Lenin is Mine


Communism is not dead.
In East European countries nowadays, even to quote this ideology is politically incorrect. In Western European countries, most communist parties have reformed themselves, some have changed their names, and the majority have accepted the rules of free trade and the capitalist system’s game. After the fall of the East, some predicted the fall of the West as the liberal Democracy will not be able to resist (without Communism) the temptation to become a new kind of fascism.

What has happened in the last 15 years since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Balkan’s ethnic war and the entrance of a wild and fast capitalism?

“LENIN IS MINE” is an opportunity for the Semolina Tomic Company to collaborate with artistic, cultural and social centres, and theatres, with artists, urban and suburban citizens of the communist and post communist culture and others of the western culture.

This generates a reflection through the presence of different voices and visions. It creates
a time zone that recognizes and accepts diversity as a value for artistic and creative expressions.

The scenography is not passive; it is being continuously reconstructed during the performance. The interactive stage metamorphoses, objects that make up the scenography transform themselves into different spaces or atmospheres.

I use the latest digital technologies and machinery with light, modular structures. This way I work both the physical (physical stage structures) and the virtual (audiovisual stage structures that are projected on to handmade screens).

The enemy of communism is the rich. The enemy of capitalism is the poor.
Ronald Reagan, ex-President of the United States of America (1981-1989)


IIn 1989 the Eastern Block wall falls and in 1990 we start noticing the beginning conflicts of the Balkans and the entrance of a wild and fast capitalism.

What has happened in the last 15 years with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the death of communism and the Balkan s ethnic war?

The almost unavoidable continuation of my work, after the creation of BODY SAFER (er), is inspired in the roots of my most anxious questions about life, people and their contradictions.

The basis of “LENIN IS MINE” is the possibility to collaborate within the creative structures -such as theatres, social and cultural centres- of the countries of Central/Eastern Europe and Russia, and also with the artists of post communist culture and others coming from western culture.

Being able to work and collaborate within these structures, in the form of residencies, teaching several workshops and doing research visits to these countries, is highly important in order to bring this creation to life.

The intention of this collaborative work is to develop a space for thought, which will allow the presence of different voices and visions related to these textures and their visual imagery; to identity and reflect their physical expression. A temporary zone that recognises and accepts diversity as a value for artistic and creative expression.

The first time I stopped to think and to seriously ask myself “WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING? I was 13 years old and I had just met two Hungarian boys at a friend s house. I was born in Osijek, North of Croatia, only a 100 kilometres from the Hungarian border. These two kids where in a state of shock because they had just escaped their country running, while the Russian block soldiers where shooting at them. They ran and ran without looking back. One of their friends had been killed so they just ran, without looking back. They just wanted to get to Paris (France).

I started to understand how things worked when I realised that the communism of the Russian Block controlled up to the smallest detail people s lives and that options for people with a free spirit simply did not exist. This really scared me, even though in the socialist system where I was born and raised -ex Yugoslavia- the situation of living was hugely different.

Nowadays most parts of Russian and Eastern Countries are privatised, fortunes plundered and speculation, Mafias, prostitution, corruption, and nationalism rule‚ The first millions are earned, ex KGB agents turn into state presidents, Mafia‚Äôs godfathers turn into influent businessmen, buying positions in parliament, in the police force and in the army, and their children get sent to Oxford.

Most people s lives don t make any SENSE any more because everything has changed. Parents and grandparents the generation that knew the communist system and its rules- raise their children -the generation of the 90`s- with their old rules; children that are born and grow knowing only the wild capitalist system.

This investigation’s work made me realise that I felt the drive to create and base myself on my own reflections about the subject, a subject that has always moved me.

And this was the beginning of my research on LENIN IS MINE.


Communism is dead.
Nowadays, in Eastern European countries, even to quote this ideology is politically incorrect and in the Western European countries, communist parties have reformed themselves, some have changed name, and the majority have accepted the rules of free trade and the capitalist system’s game.

Some have come to the conclusion that communism, especially Stalin’s, was worse than Nazism (Stalin killed millions of people, beating Hitler’s atrocities).
Lenin died in 1924, and the following history that came after his death, turning communism into terror thanks to all the “communist” presidents, is very far from the Marxist ideology that he held. His image was used as “the” symbol of communism, and when communism fell, it turned into a negative symbol, an evil “totem” and an image of suffering in these countries.

With the changes in the Eastern European political systems, after being an integral part of people’s daily lives, the statues in even the smallest of villages completely disappeared, with the intention of erasing history. For example, in Hungary, they gathered all the country’s statues and created a “Museum of Terror” in Andrasi Boulevard in Budapest. In other places the statues were sold to rich countries like Norway.

Therefore we find ourselves faced with a historical paradox, or even more so, a sort of collective ignorance as far as the facts concerned with the communist system and the basic differences between the original ideological purposes and the way it was applied in Stalin’s government.

We actually forget that Lenin’s objectives, his communist ideology, in its essential basis were positive, humanitarian and constructive, integrated and integrative by other political systems like democracy, which now a days reigns and is considered “correct”.

The Russian Revolution in 1917, gave a revolt to Russian culture’s society, as well as a new vision of the world amidst all the humanity of the 20th Century, compared to the 1789’s French Revolution.

The sense of freedom and creativity that took place in the following 15 years (until the arrival of Stalin’s regime), gave origin to the most fruitful vanguard in theatre arts, architecture, cinema and poetry. For example: constructivism in the architecture of Melnikov, Vesnin, Lessitsky or in Malevich’s supremacist studios, Meyerhold’s theatrical experiments, the scenes from Popova, Maiakovski’s poetry, Dziga Vertov’s and Rotchenko’s cinema to mention only a few examples.
Artistic disciplines fused, creating new forms of expression and interacting with the whole of Europe’s scene of the time, the Bauhaus School, Stijl School in Holland, Italian’s futurism or the experimentation in painting in France.

Historically, we know the dramatic consequences of the Russian revolution that left a lot of orphans, people without homes, generating criminality, displacing villages, creating forced labour camps and prisons (gulags), expropriating properties from the feudal bourgeoisie and creating new and strict social rules like bureaucracy and the co-operatives (solkoz, kolkoz).

For this reason, Lenin, or better said, his iconography or “iconoclast”, is proposed again in the frame of a critical project about a prospective vision with different points of view. A reflective image, reflected over and over again in the time and space of Eastern European culture as well as in the collective imagery of Western culture.

My intention is not a political or moral one as far as aesthetics go; in its etymological sense, the depth of the surface, the facade of a statue, whose face represents and transcends a historical period, a period very important to humanity and which is disappearing completely.

We try to confront preconceived concepts of this ideological language, giving force to the vital human energy among its pains and dreams, wishes and disasters. We can’t deny people’s will to live, the creativity in proposing new world visions and the fact that political forces take advantage of these feelings.

Lenin, just like any other historical figure, embodies humanity’s
contradictions, confusions and doubts. Lenin is an interface of the past, present and future times, he is a “medium” where we can analyse and reinterpret the world; a poetical and romantic vision, playing all the multiple sides of life.

In “Lenin is Mine” I want to use all these contradictions. I want to work with Lenin’s emblematic figure making it mine in my own way.

I will try to synthesise, around this icon, all the questions and all the answers of my vision of today’s world.
I would like to talk about subtleties, nearly invisible and at the same time strongly noticeable daily situations, for example waking up and making breakfast (but what breakfast?)…

I would also like to talk about culture and education, the ways and methods of realisation in a communist system and compare them to today’s system.


Encounters and fusion with artists, citizens and farmers

The idea is to collaborate with spaces, artists and people from other cultures during the investigation and creation period. This is the basis of my new project.

This stimulating fusion from various experiences, extracted from life or from artistic careers, make this explosion of creativity reflected in the dynamics of the play.

With this objective, actors, directors, set designers, technical crews, people from the world of cinema, photographers, musicians, anonymous people that will be interviewed and translators will be involved. All of them will face their own artistic experiences and will work together in this experimental work.


In 2005 and 2006 we organised numerous workshops and research visits in Croatia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Poland, Serbia, Letonia and Russia.

These workshops consisted of a collaborative work between the artistic team of the theatre company and other artists from different disciplines from each of the visited countries, in this way we can start developing together the base ideas for the project. Each one of these encounters has generated material for the final creation.

These collaborations gave me the possibility to mix different contrasts, characters, nationalities and influences. These proposals are very suggestive and rich, stimulating and feeding all the creative process.

For example, during the workshop in Croatia we could still feel the presence of the war in the memory of society, due to the political and economic situation of the Balkans. We could also see that the exchange of experiences between Croat and Serbian actors (that had never imagined themselves working together) created a very special environment because they had to overcome their racial prejudices and share the theatrical experience.

Interviews with urban citizens and farmers

This research was also based on audiovisual format interviews that will be used as material during the show.
These interviews will touch all the social and cultural aspects of these populations.

The tales of their experiences, realities and the confrontation with the past and the present, feed and support the live actions that will happen on stage.

For example, food is one of the communist system base problems.
Interviews were made to farmers who produced and sold their products to the co-operatives (Solkoz) that have now completely vanished. Nowadays, they have to pay the Mafia so that they have a right to sell.

In the cities, during communism, the state stores had very few products. There were big queues to buy with tickets. Nowadays the queues in front of the food shops have disappeared but the people haven’t got any money to buy in these same establishments which are now full of the newest products.

Archive Material: Film, TV, posters, photography, iconography

The research also includes archive material from the communist era, such as:

  • Film material with the strong aesthetics of the cinema schools from the eastern countries.
  • TV images that deal with information and the reality of the times, and that reflects life itself.
  • Propaganda posters
  • Personal photos
  • Iconography from communist symbolism (the star, hammer and the sickle, the fist)


What does the creative process mean to me?

To me, the creative process is the most important part of the production of a play.

The process is a movement of energy, thoughts, feelings, emotions, physical sensations, changes of temperature, anxieties that drive you to different psychological states, opening of the senses, colour and sound perception, vibrations, fluctuations. A movement exposed to changing sensibilities, to inner and outer experiences, shared with others.
The intensity of this process is synthesised in the final production of the show.


Stage design

The actors move and are part of the mobile structures that represent places, territories and spaces that constantly recreate themselves.

It’s not passive, nor an icon (like architecture or communist monuments). It is constructed and reconstructed during the performance. A staged interactive metamorphose, where basic elements such as objects will be transformed into spaces or atmospheres.

I use the latest digital technology and knowledge of several mechanisms, in order to move these structures. They are light and modular and combine the physical (real stage structures) and the virtual (audiovisual stage structures projected onto handmade screens).


The strong point of the audiovisual part of the show is the idea of the interaction between actors and images. We try to create and blend time, physical and spatial situations from that era and from nowadays.
It was thought that these audiovisuals can be part of the lighting design of the performance, creating different environments and atmospheres.

For example: Projections of the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw
Film screen at floor level.
In front of it an actor walks in.
Timeless situation: winter and summer.

1 In movement – images
In movement – actor

2 In movement – images
without movement – actor

3 without movement – images
In movement – actor

4 The actor filmed in the cemetery appearing inside the projection alternating the previous movement and no movement actions between the actor and the cemetery.


I work with sensitive atmospheres full of details merged with strong situations mixed with music or silence.

A space that represents the regularity of the grey and standardized Stalin architecture, in order to contrast it with a romantic atmosphere.

The power of the images and the actor’s work explain simple situations from daily life, that are also complex and strong.

Examples of atmospheric suggestions: Before and after
Bread making and bread buying
News on TV
Music (hymns and instruments) and dances
Communist buildings turned in to multimedia cinemas
Relations between men and women, women and women and men with men.
Factories, working clothes and tools
Cars, bikes, motorbikes
Symbols, advertising, posters
Army, police and jails


The presence of musicians on stage is also a very important part in creating the atmosphere for this project.
The mix of instruments from Eastern Countries and new synthetic sounds will accompany the actions keeping the essence of the musical language.

Example of musical atmosphere: The International is played live by a musician.
Bit by bit other sounds come in subtlety distorting it until it is totally transformed.


I don’t care about morality – the good and the bad – neither is it my intention to begin to justify the systems nor to simplify things or events.

After so much time in this project, I’m well aware that it’s a very delicate and risky subject, even after 15 years of this amazing change. That’s why I want to treat it with all my sensitivity, intelligence and respect.

“The enemy of communism is the rich. The enemy of capitalism is the poor”
Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America (1981-1989)


Idea, Concept, Direction: Semolínika Tomic
Interpretation: Semolínika Tomic, Carles Fígols
Stage Design: Nebojsa Tabacki
Accomplishment Stage: Marcos Rodríguez López
Statue of Lenin: Giulia Scati, Alberto Pastore, Ruza, Mitra
Music: Marius Matesan
Lights: Alex Kurth
Production: AdriAntic – Rehearsal Studio of L’Antic Teatre – L’Espai de Creació
Promotion graphic: Chesculin Ros
Conception visual space:

Co production: L’Antic Teatre – L’Espai de Creació, Barcelona

Supported by:
Government of Catalonia / Department of Culture and Mass media, Barcelona
Institute of Culture / City Council of Barcelona
AdriAntic – Rehearsal Studio of L’Antic Teatre – L’Espai de Creació
Hangar – Visual Arts Production Centre, Barcelona
L’Estruch – Centre for Arts Development, Sabadell
Ca n’Oliveras – City Counc¡l of Martorell

Germany: Gabi, Pietro, Andrea, Patricio,
Bulgaria: Radost Nikolaeva, Deyana Robert (Krug Youth Center, Duzhdovnitsa), Maria Stoyanova
Croatia: Sanja Tomic, Nenad Mrdjanovic i Snjezana Majdandzic, Srecko i Zeljka Kukic, Delimir Resicki (Glas Slavonije, Osijek), Stanko i Matija Tomic
Spain: L’Antic Teatre – L’Espai de Creació, Barcelona
Estonia: Evelyn Muursepp, John Grzinich (Moks Center for art and social practice, Mooste)
Letonia: Eric Lusito
Poland: Adrianna Koralewska (Modus Vivendi,Poznan)
Czech Republic: Nadja Vavrova
Rumania: Roxana Diana Peric
Russia: Eric Lusito
Serbia: Vladimir Aleksic, Branislavka Todorovic, Darko Peric, Slavko Zenar, Aleksandar Avramesku, Zoe Gudovic