Presented in Russian with English subtitles
Sergey Zhenovach's adaptation of Nikolai Erdman's comedy centers around a young unemployed man desperate enough to contemplate ending it all. As soon as he declares his will to die, he finds himself surrounded by a variety of characters begging him to kill himself as a gesture for their cause. Flattered by this notoriety but panicked at the prospect of actually having to go through with it, he must find a way out that somehow leaves his dignity intact. Designer Alexander Borovsky’s walled-up stage with two stories of raggedy doors allows for slapstick chases and gives Zhenovach the opportunity to play entire scenes offstage. Once the production builds up steam, the laughs come fast and furious.
Originally written in 1928 but banned by Stalin’s government for its darkly comedic subject matter, The Suicide forms a link in Russian literary history between the satirical mastery of Nikolai Gogol and the post-World War II Theatre of the Absurd.
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