Human-Puppet Theater: "2+ku"

Is it reality or is it a dream - are they separable?




About the theater

"2+ku," the human puppet theater, is a theater in Tomsk where actors and animated puppets perform plays. The theater was created by Vladimir Zakharov in the autumn of 1990. Originally, performances involved two actors and a number of puppets ("kookla" in Russian), hence the name "2+ku," but now Zakharov performs either by himself or with an apprentice. Zakharov begin his professional career working as a robot design engineer at a theater called the "Buffoon" and eventually he built his own theater and created his own plays. Now, Zakharov is an expert in robotics, an actor, a singer, a writer, and a sculptor. Zakharov does it all: he writes the script, he invents the puppets, he sets the stage, he creates the costumes, he fixes the lighting, he sets the music, and he even acts in his own plays. In addition to his regular performances in Tomsk, Zakharov performs  all around the world. His shows appeal to both kids and adults and his performances have become well known in several countries.

Photo is made by Anastasia Piletskaya



Personal experience

Moving, magical, and thought provoking - it was an experience unlike any other I had had before. That's how I would describe my evening at the "2+ku" theater in Tomsk. It began before I entered the theater, when I left the main roads of the city and walked through birch and ash trees to a cozy theater made out of wood. The puppets addressed me, the scenery began to move, and when I got to the stage the head of a short man with ruffled hair and a white beard popped out the curtains, "the show will begin soon," he said. It was about love, about growth, about the emotional and experiential development of an individual. It was all so surreal, the dream and "reality" mixed with such fluidity that I couldn't discern the difference between the two, divisions melted away and I could only feel what was happening - I was caught up in the magic of "2+ku."

Sam Morgan, CSU student


“A hare of passage” - “Перелетный заяц”

“Petal, let’s fly” - “Лети-лети, лепесток”

“A small bear” - “Соло для медвежонка”

“An old record” - “Старая пластинка”

“How to find the Sun” - “Как найти солнце”

“About a hedgehog” - “Про Ежика”

“Hitch-hiking” - “Автостоп”

“I'm a writer (a game)” - “Я писатель (игра)”

“Brook tales” - “Ручейные рассказки”

“The little prince” - “Маленький принц”

“The story of one puppet” - “История одной куклы”

“Jean -out-of-the Pod” - “Жан из стручка”

“Jean in the Vaul” - “Жан в подземелье”

The current schedule, as well as additional information, is available on Zakharov's webpage: "2+ku" 



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  1. I am sad to add that Vladimir Zakharov, 2+ku theater founder, died in a fire in a building on the theater premises on 1 February, 2019.

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