Stage Russia is proud to present a screening of Nikilai Erdman's controversial play "The Suicide".
History of the play: : Erdman's 1928 masterpiece had a tortuous production history. Vsevolod Meyerhold's attempts to stage the play were thwarted by Soviet authorities. The Vakhtangov Theatre also failed to overcome censorship difficulties. At last Konstantin Stanislavsky sent a letter to Joseph Stalin, in which he compared Erdman to Gogol and cited Maxim Gorky's enthusiasm for the play. Permission to stage the play was finally granted, only to be revoked by Lazar Kaganovich's party commission on the very eve of its premiere.
His career in the theatre effectively stalled, Erdman turned his attention to the cinema. He wrote scripts for several silent films, the most famous being Boris Barnet's The House on Trubnaya, but after actor Vasily Kachalov thoughtlessly recited Erdman's satirical fables to Stalin during a night party in the Kremlin, he was arrested and deported to the town of Yeniseysk in Siberia. The following year he was permitted to move to Tomsk, where he was able to secure a job in a local theatre.
Erdman was living in obscurity in 1964 when Yuri Lyubimov invited him to join the newly founded Taganka Theatre. It was not until 1990 that Lyubimov succeeded in at long last producing a stage version of The Suicide.