Devils *
Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end.... but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature... And to found that edifice on its unavenged tears: would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell me the truth! - The Brothers Karamazov


My Life, Their Century. The Fathers. Stalin studies to be a priest, Hitlet -- an artist, Mao wanted to be a poet... We are children of The Terror and Terrorists. What is after us?



The breaking of the seven seals, courtesy of Dostoevsky, July 17, 1998
Reviewer: from North of Louisville, KY This books improves upon the Divine Comedy and revives the New Testament. This book is a bible of Dionysiac dismemberment. Dostoevsky has translated Job's Jehova for us, from the original thunder.

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"Dostoevsky called the novel Demons precisely because the demons in it do not appear, and the reader might otherwise overlook them. The demons are visible only in distortions of the human image, the human countenance, and their force is measurable only by the degree of the distortion." Pevear Tarot


The Possessed based off of the novel by Fydor Dostoevsky

University of Alaska Fairbanks Lee H. Salisbury Theatre, Fine Arts Complex

When:   Friday       November 14      8:15pm
            Saturday    November 14       8:15pm
     Friday       November 21       8:15pm
            Saturday    November 22       8:15pm
            Sunday      November 23    2:00pm

$12 Adults $9 UAF Alumni, Employees, Senior citizens, and Military w/ID $6 Students and Children

Tickets: Theatre UAF Box office @ 474-7751 Box Office Hours: M-F 12-5:30pm; located in Great Hall, UAF

Contact: Maya Salganek, Coordinator, 474-6590

URL: theatre uaf

The Possessed

Theatre UAF takes a serious turn this fall with a hard look at some hard issues. The Possessed is a play adapted for the stage by Albert Camus from the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Originally written during a time of revolution and socio-political flux, The Possessed mirrors our current era and challenges our modern philosophies. The themes: terrorism and freedom.

The concept of terrorism is a fairly modern invention. It is attributed to anti-Marxist Russian Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876), who was regarded as one of the fathers of modern terrorism at the turn of the nineteenth century. A leader of the anarchistic movement, centered on destroying the tsarist state and halting the capitalistic train, Bakunins influence included the organization of underground radical groups bent on paving the way for a new era of human existence, long before the birth of the Bolshevik revolution. The methods implored by theses groups were adapted world wide as an underground tactic of revolutionary warfare, commonly known as terrorism.

Ideas that held these groups intact called for attacks on the government in defense of freedom. Once the modern state was destroyed, a new society would be built in its stead, not by the aristocrats, from which he came, but by the peasant workers in whom he romantically believed. War was declared on all centralized governments, weather monarchies or democracies, calling instead for the abolition of the state all together.

In Moscow, November 1869, a group of such radicals committed the brutal murder of a young student, Ivan Ivanov. A co-revolutionary of Bakunins, Nechaev, who had convinced others of the group that Ivanov was a police spy, masterminded the conspiracy of his murder. The discovery of Ivanovs body led to a series of arrests and a long trial which held the Russian papers attention for many a year.

These events culminated in the work of Fydor Dosteveskey known as The Possessed (recently re-translated as Demons), written during the trial of the Nechaevists in 1871. The characters are built around this revolutionary group, around the ideas for which they stood, and the path those ideas led them to. Toted as an antirevolutionary novel, The Possessed does not blame the individuals for the violence, but the violence of the ideas in which they believed. These ideas have possessed them, like demons, and they are driven to an inevitable end. These are ideas that any of us could believe in; deas that could turn any one of us into terrorists. When Dostoevsky read about these incidents in the Moscow Record, he was not struck by the fantastic nature of the event, but quite the opposite. The murder was significant because of its seemingly mundane insignificance to a world overwhelmed in terror. This is the deep realism in which both the play and novel is based. A realism that requires that only the most violent and horrific act of terrorism will make the headlines.

As if Dostoevsky wasnt enough of a writer, existentialist Albert Camus has also had his hand in this. It is from him that we get the play, The Possessed written by Camus in 1960, the final year of his life. Despite Camus genius as a writer, his authority as a playwright is less solid, according to Theatre UAF director, Anatoly Antohin. Anothin, who defected from Russia in 1982, has had to rework the script to bring it back to Dostoveskys original intent. The dark humor, so prevalent in the novel is all but missing from the play. Other issues also remain, so the adaptation we bring to the stage is yet another attempt at getting the story right. Antohin writes, I read the novel forty years ago and The Possessed was on my wish list to direct ever since. 9/11 brought this project to the top on my short wish list. I knew that I won't have time to write my own composition, so we went with the play by Albert Camus as a base. The play was written hundred years after the prophetic book by Dostoevsky, by even than in 1960 the terrorists weren't on everybody's mind. Two years into our War on Terror it's time to take a closer look at origins of terrorism, to go beyond the news.

Antohin is not the only one interested in the the connections between Dostoevsky and the War on Terrorism. Incidentally, Andre Glucksmann, a modern French philosopher, recently published his book entitled Dostoevsky in Manhattan, (not available in English translation) which parallels the ideas addressed in The Possessed to September 11. The idea of nihilism connects the two, and as he stated in an interview with Liss Gehlen and Jens Heisterkamp of Open Democracy, The inner nature of this nihilistic terrorism is that everything is permissible, whether because God exists and I am his representative (as in the case of Islamic fundamentalists), or because God does not exist and I take his place (as with the characters in The Possessed). That is what I find so impressive about Dostoevsky: he is a secret, a riddle.

Please join Theatre UAF for The Possessed, thought provoking theatre in thee Lee H. Salisbury Theatre, November 14 23, 2003. Shows take place Fridays and Saturdays, November 14,15, 21 & 22 at 8:15 PM and on Sunday November 23 at 2:00 PM. See our website for more details at Advance tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for UAF employees, seniors, and members of the military, and $6 for students and children. All ticket prices $1 more at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the Theatre UAF Box Office in the Fine Arts Complex at UAF, or by calling 474-7751.

based on Dostoevsky's novel + Camus's adaptation:
The Possessed, Albert Camus

A play in Three Parts

Vintage Books

[ big cast ]

Date and Place of birth:
Nov. 7, 1913, Mondovi, Algeria
d. Jan. 4, 1960, Villeblerin, France

Life and Works:

French novelist, essayist, and playwright. Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work.

Less than a year after Camus was born, his father, an impoverished worker of Alsatian origin, was killed in World War I during the First Battle of the Marne. His mother, of Spanish descent, worked as a charwoman to support her family. Camus and his elder brother Lucien moved with their mother to a working-class district of Algiers, where all three lived, together with the maternal grandmother and a paralyzed uncle, in a two-room apartment.

In primary school, Camus found a teacher, Louis Germain, who recognized the young boy's intellectual potential and encouraged him in his studies.

After taking a short break necessitated by a bout with tuberculosis, Camus continued his education at the University of Algiers. After earning a degree in philosophy, Camus relocated to Metropolitan France and took up journalism. In 1938, he accepted a post with the left-wing newspaper Alger-Rpublicain where he served alternately as sub-editor, social and political reporter, leader-writer, and book-reviewer. After World War II broke out, Camus used his literary talents to support the French Resistance, taking on the editorship of Combat, an important underground paper. He was briefly a member of the Communist Party.

In 1947 Camus retired from political journalism and, besides writing his fiction and essays, was very active in the theatre as producer and playwright. He also adapted plays by Calderon, Lope de Vega, Dino Buzzati, and Faulkner. His love for the theatre may be traced back to his membership in L'Equipe, an Algerian theatre group, whose "collective creation" Rvolte dans les Asturies (1934) was banned for political reasons. He soon established an international reputation with such works as The Stranger (1946), The Plague (1947), The Rebel (1954) and The Myth of Sisyphus (1955).

The two most important of Camus' plays are Caligula (1938) and Cross Purpose (1944). In Caligula, a young Roman emperor comes face to face with the terrible lack of meaning in the universe after the senseless death of his beloved sister Drusilla. In order to teach the world the true nature of life, Caligula goes on a murderous spree, killing his subjects indiscriminately. After this act of rebellion fails, he chooses to court his own assassination.

In Cross Purpose, Camus' second play, a man returns home after travelling the world for 20 years. His mother and sister keep an inn where, unbeknownst to him, they murder and rob rich travellers so that they will one day be able to move to the sea-shore. Unable to find the right words to reveal his identity, the prodigal son decides to spend the night in his family's inn posing as a stranger, thus becoming the next victim. When his identity is discovered, a string of suicides is set into motion--a theme which Camus would later explore in his philosophical work, The Myth of Sisyphus.

The essay The Myth of Sisyphus ( Le Mythe de Sisyphe, 1942), expounds Camus's notion of the absurd and of its acceptance with "the total absence of hope, which has nothing to do with despair, a continual refusal, which must not be confused with renouncement - and a conscious dissatisfaction". Meursault, central character of The Stranger (L'tranger, 1942), illustrates much of this essay: man as the nauseated victim of the absurd orthodoxy of habit, later - when the young killer faces execution - tempted by despair, hope, and salvation. His subsequent novel, The Plague (La Peste, 1947) depicted a city under siege by a mysterious plague that, like Nazism, intimidated and terrorized many, but also called forth a heroic determination to fight against it.

Other well-known works of Camus are The Fall (La Chute, 1956), and Exile and the Kingdom (L'Exile et le royaume, 1957). Primarily a moralist rather than a philosopher, Camus was often mislabeled an "existentialist" in the mode of his sometime-ally, Jean-Paul Sartre.

But, as Camus remarked in a review he wrote of Sartre's novel Nausea (La Nause) in 1938: "To observe that life is absurd is not an end, but a beginning."

His post-war nonfiction book The Rebel (L'Homme rvolt, 1951) examined the dangerous tendency of revolutions to become tyrannies. Since the publication of this book he had been caught up in a controversy with Sartre, who - along with many other French leftist intellectuals - felt that Camus's critique of revolutionary excess played into the hands of rabid anti-Communists. In his scathingly self-critical novel La Chute (1956), Camus turned his moral searchlight on a character very like himself.

Camus later got into trouble over the issue of independence for the former French colony of Algeria. Born and raised in the city of Algiers, Camus had always been sympathetic to the plight of the Arabs in this region. But he would not endorse the terrorist campaign of the Arab National Liberation Front (FLN) in their quest for independence, when it targeted innocent civilians.

Camus wrote two other original plays, State of Siege (1948) and The Just (Les Justes, 1949). After this, his work for the stage consisted solely of translations and adaptations. The most brilliant of these were adaptations of Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun (1956) and Dostoevsky's The Possessed (1959).

In 1957, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

On January 4, 1960, Camus was killed in an automobile accident while returning to Paris with his friend and publisher Michel Gallimard. He was only forty-six years old.

Selected Works:

Rvolte dans les Asturies (1934)
Caligula (1938)
Cross Purpose (1944)
The Stranger (L'tranger, 1946)
The Plague (La Peste, 1947)
State of Siege (1948)
The Just (The Justes, 1949)
The Rebel (Homme rvolt, 1954)
The Myth of Sisyphus (Le Mythe de Sisyphe, 1955)
The Fall (La Chute, 1956)
Exile and the Kingdom (L'Exile et le royaume, 1957)
The first man (Le premier homme, 1991 - posthumous)

Bibliography: Todd, O. (1995). Albert Camus: a life

NYC6-TitleThe Possessed 2003
Nikolay Berdyaev (Prague, 1923): So great is the worth of Dostoevsky that to have produced him is by itself sufficient justification for the existence of the Russian people in the world: and he will bear witness for his country-men at the last judgement of the nations.

Next: act I
Dostoevsky: 2003 draft