Nikolai Erdman

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Plays by Nikolai Erdman

The Suicide

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

I used to work in PR, if you’re going to kill yourself let’s make it an event . . . You can own this, Sam. For the first time in your life you. Could be. In charge.

Things are getting tough for Sam. No job, benefits stopped and stuck in a tiny flat with his girlfriend Maya and her mum. The pressure is building. It feels like there might be only one way out.

But every ending is a beginning and there are plenty of people keen to capitalise on Sam’s momentous decision. From corrupt local politicians to kids trying to raise the number of views of their online videos, everyone wants a piece of Sam’s demise. It scarcely matters what Sam actually wants. Faced with the promise of immortality, what’s his life worth?

Suhayla El-Bushra takes the satiric masterpiece by Nikolai Erdman and smashes it into contemporary urban Britain. It’s provocative, fast-paced and very funny.

Nikolai Erdman (1902-1970) was a Russian playwright from Moscow. His first play, The Mandate (1925) was a huge success after it premiered in a production directed by Meyerhold. However, The Suicide (1928) was banned, leading to the premature demise of his career. Describing his work Robert Leach, formerly of the University of Birmingham, wrote that "These two plays combine a kaleidoscope of virtuoso dramatic effects with quickfire punning dialogue to creat disturbing political farce. Erdman transforms the depressing selfishness of everyone (the 'little man' as much as the pwerful) by the energy of the action into a life-enhancing celebration of humanity. The Suicide, which first appeared outside the Soviet Union in 1969, became popular in Erdman's homeland after its first performance in Moscow in 1982."