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Biography

Les Podervyansky (Ukrainian: Олександр Сергійович Подерв’янський, Oleksandr Serhiiovych Poderv”ians’kyi, born 1952 in Kiev, in the Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union - present day Ukraine) is a Ukrainian painter, poet, playwright and performer. He is most famous (or infamous) for his absurd, highly satirical, and at times politically incorrect and obscene short plays. Their average duration is five to fifteen minutes, with some exceptions.

Podervianskiy wrote most of his works in the Soviet Union from the in the mid to late 1980s, a time of rapid change. He studied how people reacted to those changes and, more specifically, how those who didn't want or care about the changes reacted. To highlight his idea, the author places common people in grotesque situations and shows how they would act much the same regardless of what happens.

Podervianskiy's works are highly regarded owing to his attention to detail. Many behavioural modes are easily recognizable, and people are able to recognize themselves in the plays. The general absurdity of a situation makes the characters' absurd actions more acceptable, and although certain phrases the author uses are politically incorrect, his humour is generally neutral.

Poderviansky says he draws a lot of his inspiration from the years of his army service. There is also an opinion that his plays are in some way inspired by works of Samuel Beckett

Podervianskiy's works have often been criticized because of his use of vulgar language. They are written mostly in Surzhyk and include much swearing and obscenities, which make them appear as if they were composed by an uneducated person. Often it seems that the only reason one would read the works is for their comic impact and to hear creative swearing. But this is not the case. Although a number of Podervianskiy's expressions have entered Ukrainian slang, he uses crude language to show the flaws and grotesqueness of his characters. Podervianskiy carefully matches up language with his characters. Thus a self-made intellectual spouts scientific-sounding nonsense, while more "straightforward" characters use simple words to express complex things.

Because Podervianskiy's works are known primarily in the form of audio recordings of the author's recitals, his voice adds extra dramatic effect to the text.

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