By Mikhail Bulgakov. Based on the novel by Nikolai Gogol. Translated by Ilya Khodosh. Directed by Leo Egger. Starring Hamzah Jhaveri, Nico Taylor, and Dominic Sullivan.
Durham, North Carolina
The Fruit: July 26 - 28, 8 p.m.
July 29, 3 p.m.
Brooklyn, New York
Target Margin Theater: July 30 - 31, 8 p.m.
The Etcetera Theatre: August 3 - 5 & 7, 9 p.m.
In the summer of 2023, The Eno River Players embarked on their first international tour, performing in Durham, New York, and London. They adapted a new translation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s 1932 play based on Gogol's classic satirical novel, Dead Souls. In this version, three actors will play the 30+ roles and tell the whole story in under 70 minutes.
Dead Souls reveals the absurdity and vanity of aristocratic life in 19th century Imperial Russia. The play tells the story of Chichikov journeying through the inferno-like Russian countryside meeting and negotiating with type-characters as he attempts to buy up dead serfs. Chichikov’s scheme is a mysterious one with the apparent purpose of increasing his social standing in society. The play is a hilarious yet damning satire of the vulgarity and accepted cruelty of the quotidian life of the bourgeoisie. It is a story that holds special poignancy in our era governed by an amoral late-stage capitalism as well as during the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The genesis of this particular adaptation of Gogol’s epic is an important one. Mikhail Bulgakov, the great Soviet writer best known for his novel Master and Margarita, was tasked with adapting Dead Souls for the stage after being appointed to an assistant director position at Stanislavski’s Moscow Arts Theater after Stalin denied his request to leave Russia. In response to the circumstances of his forced literary labor, Bulgakov’s adaptation centers around Gogol writing his novel with the hope of appealing to future generations with his poetry. This is the first English production of Bulgakov’s masterful adaptation of a novel he once considered to be unstageable.
This show is for lovers of comedy and literature, for those who enjoy satire and crave intellectual stimulation. It is also for those who love to laugh at the pompous, the odd, and the absurd.