The Marylebone Theatre is a new home for Eastern European culture in London. Just over a year ago, the venue opened with Dmitry, a version of an unfinished play by Schiller about the so-called “false Dmitry”, whose Polish-backed invasion of Moscow catalysed the death of Boris Godunov, resulting in the rise of the Romanov dynasty. Recently, they also hosted The White Factory about the tragic fate of Jews in the Lodz ghetto during WW2, written by Dmitry Glukhovsky (author of the cult novel Metro 2033) and directed by Maxim Didenko.

 

This spring they are offering a stage-adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s short story, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, followed by Gogol’s The Government Inspector.

 

 

Why this strong focus on Eastern Europe? It is no coincidence that Marylebone Theatre regularly programme work from this part of the world, not being funded by anyone from the region. The real reason is love. A very genuine love – felt by Artistic Director Alexander J Gifford, and the wider team at the Marylebone – for the greatness and beauty of Eastern European culture and its importance now: “For us, there is a particular value in the spiritual quality of Slavic culture, the fact that it acknowledges the numinous dimension of human experience and explores this boldly.”

 

This quality comes across especially strongly in The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. In this moving – but also very funny – story, a suicidally depressed man falls asleep and dreams of an alternative earth, where people live in harmony with each other and nature. It’s a fabulously uplifting tale, which distills the essence of Dostoyevsky’s Christian vision to a picture of redemption through love. It expresses a profound hope, based on an understanding of the essentially spiritual nature of the universe. In the upcoming production, the events of the story are relocated to modern London and are brought to life by a beautifully realised use of lighting and sound. The lead actor is Greg Hicks, famous for his performances of great Shakespeare roles (King Lear, Hamlet, Richard III) and in numerous Greek tragedies. The director is the equally highly-regarded Laurence Boswell, whose many shows for the RSC and in the West End have won the top awards in world theatre. We are immensely proud of the show and believe that it will be a significant contribution to the London cultural scene, bringing a very particularly Eastern European flavour.

 

I hope the show will have a special interest for the Eastern European communities in London. “To all those that belong to this community, I want to extend a very warm invitation to visit the Marylebone Theatre and to feel at home with us. We are committed to creating work, which honours the depth and beauty of your culture and hope to count you amongst our friends and allies.”

Alexander J Gifford, Artistic Director, The Marylebone Theatre

Book for 21 March – 20 April rom £19.50: https://marylebonetheatre.com/productions/the-dream-of-a-ridiculous-man