Cast 11 male 4 female
Licence UK & Ireland only
Sergei Maxudov is reluctantly working as a newspaper man and has written a novel everyone is sure will never pass the censors. In despair, Maxudov is about to commit suicide when he is interrupted by the mysterious Rudolfi, a publisher who wants to buy the novel. But after the novel’s first installment appears in print, Rudolfi unaccountably disappears, leaving Maxudov in the lurch. But Maxudov’s bleak literary prospects are rescued once again, when a note is slipped under his door requesting him to come immediately for a talk with Ilchin, the holder of a long string of artistic titles at the renowned Independent Theatre. Maxudov accepts an offer to adapt his novel for the stage, and sets off on a roller coaster ride in the tumultuous world of the Independent Theatre. Seeing his play advertised alongside Shakespeare and Sophocles, Maxudov is overcome with giddiness at his new fame, but the experience soon takes a darker turn when he meets the theater’s artistic director, the formidable Ivan Vasilievich. Ivan decides he must personally oversee the production, and inflicts his legendary acting method upon the rehearsals. Maxudov soon discovers he is contractually manacled to the eccentric whims of the theater’s management, and has no power to stop their meddling with his creation. Maxudov becomes increasingly frustrated by the artistic hypocrisy of the theater, which itself is subject to government oppression. Reduced to another cog in the workings of the labyrinthine theater bureaucracy, Maxudov is forced to choose between artistic compromise or suicide.