Three brothers, separated since childhood, reunite as adults in the house of their father, a lecherous, whore-mongering landowner who abandoned the boys after driving their respective mothers into early graves. The eldest son, Dmitry, a passionately impetuous ladies' man and professional soldier, angrily accuses his father of not only withholding his inheritance, but also of trying to buy the heart of Grushenka, the woman Dmitry loves. The middle son, Ivan, a cool, self-controlled intellectual and atheist, is in love with Katerina, Dmitry's manipulative, and soon-to-be-abandoned fiancée. Alyosha, the youngest brother, a warm-hearted, somewhat egoless, but down-to-earth young man, is studying to be a monk in a nearby monastery while striving to hold his volatile family together. The plot centers around Dmitry's growing hatred for his father, which erupts in front of a gathering of holy men at Alyosha's monastery. Alyosha entreats Ivan to help cool this hatred between Dmitry and their father, but Ivan justifies his own lack of concern—and his atheism—during a heart-to-heart talk with Alyosha over dinner in a tavern. In his famous, riveting monologue, Ivan tells Alyosha the tale of the "Grand Inquisitor," in which Christ returns during the Spanish Inquisition, only to be imprisoned by an evil Cardinal and threatened with being burned at the stake. Later that night, old man Karamazov is found murdered and robbed, and the prime suspect, the impoverished Dmitry, is arrested at the height of a wild celebration in an inn just outside town, with his pockets full of cash. A climactic trial scene reveals what really happened: that Ivan, through his casual, amoral, philosophical remarks, had incited the surly servant Smerdyakov (himself an illegitimate son of Karamazov) to kill their father and then commit suicide. After Ivan is visited in the middle of the night by someone who may well be the devil, his overwhelming sense of guilt forces him to burst into the courtroom and confess this "guilt" out loud. The jury convicts Dmitry despite this confession, which leaves Ivan only one other alternative: to selflessly, and at great risk, arrange for Dmitry's escape—thereby realizing Alyosha's dream of uniting the brothers in forgiveness and love.
This is a marvelous, rich stage adaptation of Dostoyevsky's final masterpiece, a tale of lust, patricide and spiritual redemption revolving around three brothers in late 19th century Russia. "…faithful throughout to the spirit of Dostoyesky's towering masterpiece…Fishelson has succeeded in…capturing the humor, passion and pathos of the brothers…" —NY Times. "…exciting and rewarding…the action passes as fast as a summer storm, full of lightning and thunder…throughout one gets a sense not only of Dostoyevsky's Russia, but also the novelist's grand design." —NY Post. "Mr. Fishelson's adaptation is filled with sure-footed, breathtakingly right translations of Dostoyevsky's prose into canny theater…" —NY Law Journal.