Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Coast of Utopia

I have raved about Isaiah Berlin's Russian Thinkers before on this blog (astonishing, thrilling and a thousand other superlatives!) Not surprisingly given how dramatic and lively this rather dense and theoretical book is, it inspired well known British playwright Tom Stoppard to write a trilogy of plays titled The Coast of Utopia, based on the life and works of major figures of nineteenth century Russian intellectual history, specially Herzen, Turgenev, Belinsky and Bakunin. The wiki page of the play links to individual articles about these writers and thinkers.

The play is getting the American premiere at the Lincoln Center Theater starting from this month which will continue to the next year. I haven't yet got the tickets and I don't know if it will be a good idea because I haven't read Stoppard's play and I feel that even reading Berlin's book just once is certainly not enough for sufficient background, at least as far as I am concerned. It is tough on the pocket too. A single screening (of a single part) will cost around $80 or upwards. Surprisingly all the marathon screenings, all three plays back to back for 12 hours, are already sold out! Never underestimate the literati of New York!

More details on the official site of the play. This will give a good idea of the scale of the production in terms of numbers. 66 scenes, 44 actors, four different languages!

All links via complete review which also links to this great article about Herzen in the latest New Yorker and the lincoln center theatre review page about the play itself.

The complete review page of the play itself contains so many links that I think you can confidently apply for a degree in Slavic Studies after you have read all of them!


Angel Feathers Tickle Me said...

An Angel Visits You

Alok said...

wow, but you sound like a spammer :)

km said...

A spammer could be an angel, Alok. Don't be so cynical :)

Alok said...

:) I am feeling like Jimmy Stewart in "It's a wonderful life" these days. I badly need an angelic intervention in my life!

Vidya said...

I am amazed at someone who can watch 3 parts for 12 hrs.50 pages of Turgenev takes as much time for me..And even the wikipedia entry on Bakunin makes a great demand on your mental energy; Talk about intellectual incapacities.And Why do I feel like I have two horns on my head suddenly after visting that angel's blog - a journey from st.petersburg to st.peters :) ??

Alok said...

Yup, I really want to meet some of those people who have bought marathon tickets! I am sure slavic culture and history isn't such a hot subject as one would conclude from all this!!

and as km said, don't be so cynical, you never know, angels come in many disguises :))