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25a, Povarskaya str., Moscow, 121069, Russian Federation
PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, Folklore Division, A. M. Gorky Institute of World Literature, Russian Academy of Sciences
This article examines the Malanka ritual as enacted in the village of Lipnik in the Oknitsky Region of the Republic of Moldova, where it remains a vital and actively developing part of local society’s celebratory culture. Its purpose is to show how features of folkloric theater and mummery are embodied in unique local forms. Principle attention is focused on the theatri-cal and game-like aspects of the Malanka ritual: on the use of masks, the play and verbal behav-ior of participants of the ceremony, as well as on its auditory design. At the same time, the article shows that the Malanka ritual as recorded in the village of Lipnik exemplifi es a unique fusion of ceremonial semantics and theatrical expression. It also analyzes the techniques for producing the ritual’s spectacular audio and visual “score”, whose main features are contrast and the use of ox-ymorons. These are used, among other things, to overcome what is frightening and to turn it into something laughable. The article also examines such expressive means as the violation of usual norms and relations, travesty, and play with gender roles. It describes the principles of “theatrical reincarnation”, whose use of masks comprises the core theatrical and play component of the rite. Th e ritual’s other elements are closely connected with the masquerade and grow out of it.
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