Pushkin

by  Don Nigro

Full Length Play, Dark Comedy  /  5m, 3f

NOTICE: Please be advised, this title is being made available now in manuscript form prior to its publication.

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    5m, 3f
  • Duration

    Duration

    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

At the time of his violent death, Alexander Pushkin was the most famous living Russian poet, still a young man, and married to the most beautiful woman in St Petersburg. This play traces the dark, tragic farce of the events that led to his shooting. A notoriously successful womanizer, Pushkin became obsessed with the famously beautiful Natalya Goncharova, whose insane father and lack of a dowry finally led her to give in and marry him. The marriage appears to have been a surprisingly happy one at first, only to gradually develop more and more strains as Natalya's love of dancing and showing herself off at balls drew her further and further away from her short, ugly and somewhat lame husband, and towards a handsome young French officer named D'Anthes. As Pushkin's suspicion and jealousy grew, so did his frustration that everything he wrote had to be submitted to the Tsar's chief of police and head censor, the sardonic and dangerous Count Benckendorf, whose attitude towards the great poet seems to have been about equal parts affection, respect, resentment and hatred. The fuse to this powder keg of increasingly violent emotions was finally lit by the anonymous mailing of malicious letters to Pushkin and all his friends, congratulating the poet on being elected to the brotherhood of cuckolds. The authorship of the letters remains a mystery to this day, but they set off a chain reaction that led step by step to a bloody duel in the snow and the premature death of Russia's greatest poet. Many believed the letters were written by D'Anthes' grotesquely jealous protector, Baron Van Heeckeren, a figure reminiscent of Proust's Baron de Charlus, but there are other likely suspects in the play as well. Told in a fluid and cinematic fashion as a kind of surreal, ongoing ball that is also perhaps the attempt of Pushkin's friend and rival Gogol to construct a play that makes sense of his life and death, the play presents an increasingly tangled web that includes Natalya's resentful sisters, the brilliant and somewhat wicked Alexandra, who might have had serious designs on Pushkin herself, and the plain and desperate Katya, who managed to get herself pregnant by D'Anthes while acting as a go-between. The play flows like a dance, blending dark comedy, mystery and tragedy as it moves inexorably to that bloody snow bank. Part of Nigro's ongoing cycle of plays tracing the history of Russia through the lives of its writers, which includes Gogol, An Angler in the Lake of Darkness, A Russian Play, Emotion Memory, Rasputin and Mandelstam.
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

5m, 3f
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast

Resources

Available Services

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Authors

Don Nigro

Don Nigro is among the most frequently published and widely produced playwrights in the world and has continued to build a deeply interrelated and diverse body of dramatic literature, employing a wide variety of dramatic conventions and styles of presentation. He has written monologues and epics, spare realistic dramas ...

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