Nikolai Erdman’s witty satire The Suicide is now on at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, kicking off the Department of Dramatic Arts’ new season.
Described as “a spectacular mixture of the ridiculous and the sublime,” The Suicide tells the story of Semyon, an ordinary man who, while arguing with his wife about a sausage, accuses her of wishing him dead.
A disastrous chain of misunderstandings is then set in motion with Moscow’s shadiest characters trying to recruit Semyon to kill himself for their own cause. He survives their lottery of death because of a tuba, drinking error and a love for life.
The Suicide was written just before Stalin seized power in Russia. Erdman’s mockery of the pretensions of pre- and post-revolutionary worlds ultimately led Stalin to ban the play and exile Erdman to Siberia. The script was smuggled abroad in various versions but Erdman never saw it realized. Today, The Suicide is recognized as a masterpiece of Soviet-era literature and drama.
The play has been adapted by director Gyllian Raby and Anna MacAlpine in the Department of Dramatic Arts to emphasize Erdman’s love of slapstick, zany fantasy, and paradox by drawing on the improvised dialogue of the Italian Commedia dell’Arte.
The Suicide is directed by Gyllian Raby with set design by Nigel Scott, costume design by Roberta Doylend and lighting by Ken Garrett.
It’s also showcases for Brock’s production and design students and performers Marcus Schwan, Kaitlin Race, Cassandra van Wyck, Derek Ewert, Justine Benteau, Rachel Romanowski, Brianne Lidstone, James Lowe, Nikki Morrison, Brent Cairns, Ioanna al Khayed, Karyn Lorence, Evan Mulrooney, Kanthan Annalingan, Sean Rintoul and Evan Bawtinheimer.
Performances happen Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 9 at 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 seniors and students and $5 for the eyeGo high school ticket program.
Special Group rates are available from the Centre for the Arts box office at 905-688-5550, ext. 3257 or online.