The Steps of Nemesis A Dramatic Chronicle in Six Scenes from Party Life in the USSR (1936–1938)
Translated by Zachary Murphy King
with an afterword by Gleb J. Albert and Sylvia Sasse
Softcover, 224 pages
PDF, 224 pages
In the 1910s the Russian theater director and theorist Nikolai Evreinov (1879-1953) insisted on the theatricalization of life. Twenty years later Evreinov, who had left Russia in 1924, was in exile in Paris when Stalin staged three elaborate political show trials in Moscow. Now he meticulously read the transcripts of the trials in the Russian-language press, collected material on Nikolai Bukharin and the other defendants, consulted with experts, and finally wrote a play, his response to the staging of a judicial farce. With this response, he possibly also wanted to rehabilitate his idea of the theatricalization of life. After all, the theatricalization of life does not mean performing false confessions, constructing conspiracies, fabricating facts, or casting hired witnesses. In his theatrical theory, Evreinov was concerned not to make the theater of life invisible. His play is therefore not a historical reconstruction, but an imaginary look behind the scenes, in which the Stalinist perpetrators confess to the real crime in the end: the theater.
In Place of a Preface
The Steps of Nemesis
The Confession of the Theater. Nikolai Evreinov’s “Restaging” of the Moscow Show Trials
is a professor
of Slavic studies at the University
of Zurich and co-founder of
the ZKK (Centre for Arts and Cultural
Theory), member of ZGW (Center "History of Knowledge"), and co-editor of "Geschichte der Gegenwart" (www.geschichtedergegenwart.ch).