The Suicide

by Nikolai Erdman

2015, Embassy Theatre, Central

Adapted by Ben Naylor from a literal translation by Charlotte Pyke

Directed by Ben Naylor with Anna Healey

Set design by James Turner, Costume design by Holly Henshaw, Lighting by Edmund McKay, Music and sound by Thomas Moked Blum

This production of Erdman’s brilliant, black, philosophical/satirical farce used a period setting (Moscow, 1930) with a framing device of the dress rehearsal held before the censorship board of the Communist Party, which resulted in the banning of the play in 1932. The expressionist acting style and movement drew heavily upon the Biomechanics work of Vsevolod Meyerhold, original director of the play; the super-realistic, symbolist digital soundscape was complemented by a live gypsy band in Act 3. Given the play’s relationship with censorship, we also used the production to raise funds for embattled Moscow satirical theatre, Teatr Doc.

A review of the production is here.

Photography by Patrick Baldwin