IV London, England 2010
There are plenty of Eastern Europeans in London. One can easily feel the presence of the history of the post-soviet Russian generation, but I sense in London also a long distance from their history, the escape and the silence from it, rather than an understanding.
I stay mostly indoors, going to town only occasionally. I see from the windows of London all nations rushing in one lump, the questions of everyone present and absent, all at the same time, a forceful reality of free choice. I am finishing the libretto, with the will power of a wolf. I have re-written it four times, and threw all four away. The fifth came quickly, in only a few days.
In the corridors I meet the neighbors. One day an Englishman speaks to me about how badly Latvians are treating their Russian minority, his friend has suffered because of it. After a moment of conversation it comes out that his friend is from Ukraine and has lived as a Russian in London—and has never been in Latvia. The man tells me his is very international in a London sort of way and that at the end of his street at home there is a Buddhist monastery.
The incomprehensibility of the society around me compels me to create the libretto in rough lines, in a very simple form. I’ve got a human being, her destiny, and the all-around unseen society around her. Her choices. Bad choices.
Is an Estonian woman in the countryside justified in committing a crime because she is a part of the much greater crime of the entire world? When does a human being still have responsibility for his or her choices? Even when those choices are reduced to one, which one seems so ridiculously small?
“Purge” is part fantasy and more than reality. Like an operatic fantasy, a gentrified reality, whose basic questions are the same for everyone.