University of South Carolina

Don Russell (right) as Semyon and Catherine Friesen as his wife, Maria
Don Russell (right) as Semyon and Catherine Friesen as his wife, Maria

Theatre South Carolina to stage Russian farce

Theatre South Carolina will present the once-banned and rarely performed Russian farce, “The Suicide,” as the third in its main stage series Feb. 18-26 at Longstreet Theatre.

Performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday - Friday, 7 p.m. Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on the first Sunday. A half-price performance is set for 11 p.m. on the final Saturday (Feb 26).

Tickets are $10 for students, $14 for USC faculty and staff, military and seniors 60+ and $16 for the general public. Tickets are available by calling 803-777-2551 or by visiting the Longstreet Theatre box office.

The farcical play takes theater goers into the life of Semyon, an out-of-work tubist at the end of his proverbial rope. When his wife confides to a neighbor that he may be considering suicide, interested locals, each representing a different facet of society, begin trying to make him a martyr for their own causes.

Playwright Nikolai Erdman’s 1929 dark comedy spent a year in rehearsals under the direction of the great Vsevolod Meyerhold before being banned after a preview showing to Stalinist bureaucrats.

Director Steven Pearson says that even though Erdman’s social satire still has relevance today, the main selling point is the play’s outlandish humor.

“I hope audiences come see the show and simply enjoy how Semyon's basic problem works itself out,” he says. “We intend that everyone will laugh and will recognize themselves or their situation and also recognize the humor involved in being single-minded about something. And, in the larger context, we hope the play encourages them to realize that whatever their individual circumstances are, perhaps they aren’t quite as dire as they may seem.”

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 02/17/11 @ 1:10 PM | Updated: 02/17/11 @ 1:22 PM | Permalink

'The Suicide'

  • What: Russian playwright Nikolai Erdman’s farcical comedy
  • Who: Steven Pearson to direct
  • When: Feb. 18-26, (8 p.m. Wednesday - Friday, 7 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. the first Sunday, 11 p.m. the final Saturday)
  • Where: Longstreet Theatre

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