Stalin’s Russia portrayed in Perse Sixth Form play Collaborators
9 Nov 2018
Life in pre-war Communist Russia was brought to the Peter Hall Performing Arts Centre stage in the compelling Perse Sixth Form play Collaborators.
Set in Moscow in 1938, John Hodge’s play centred around two real-life characters in Joseph Stalin and dissident author and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov, whose work was banned in the USSR.
Despite this, Collaborators sees the Soviet ruler commission Bulgakov to write a play glorifying his life to mark his 60th birthday. The play then explores the macabre and disturbingly funny relationship between the two characters as Stalin takes over writing the script and Bulgakov, who is dying from kidney disease nephrosclerosis, begins carrying out some of Stalin’s duties.
Collaborators also takes place against the backdrop of the Great Purge, Stalin’s campaign of political repression which saw around 1million people killed in the Soviet Union, with many of Bulgakov’s friends and fellow dissidents perishing as a result.
Drama teacher George Smith, who directed the play, felt the Sixth Form students did a fantastic job with their portrayal of the situation.
He said: “They took real ownership of the play. We had some really interesting discussions with all the cast on what the play is about for them because there are so many different aspects to it.
“It’s been great to work with such a conscientious group of actors. We know a lot about Stalin from the history books, but it’s really hard to know what life was like under that regime. I was very impressed with how the actors did it and the feedback we had from audience members was really good.”