[ drama classes ]


Devils *
... I will come back later to write the captions to pix. Maybe.



- Demons - Fyodor Dostoevsky translated by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky
Written in 1872 and inspired by a political assassination in 1869, previous translations of this novel were erroneously titled The Possessed. Dostoevsky is a genius. It took me some time to get the hang of it, but once it got going, I was enthralled. I was puzzled for quite awhile as to who exactly the demons were. Then I realized that the characters weren't the demons. They were the possessed. The demons that possessed them weren't little red men with horns and goatees. They were much more terrible. Some of the minor demons: ignorance, vanity, conceit, lust, and indifference. The real bad asses though, were ideas like atheism, socialism and nihilism.These ideas consumed and blinded normal human beings such that they acted evilly. Less than a century after the writing of this novel, Europe saw ideas consume and blind enough to allow the heinous murder of tens of millions of people at the hands of Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, etc. Dostoevsky tried to warn us that our ideas are our creations and we are responsible for how we use them, how we harness them and keep them from harnessing us.


My Life, Their Century. The Fathers. Stalin studies to be a priest, Hitlet -- an artist, Mao -- a poet... The Terror and Terrorists.


"Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist, more than Gauss!" -- Einstein Я хочу не такого общества, где бы я не мог делать зла, а такого именно, чтоб я мог делать всякое зло, но не хотел его делать сам.

... ничего и никогда не было для человека и для человеческого общества невыносимее свободы! Dostoevsky images:

Demons (Theatre UAF script) & Terror (or "Stavrogin" -- the new draft I'm working on). Nov. 2003

images directory

“And there was one herd of many swine feeding on this mountain; and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.
“Then went the devils out of the man and entered into the swine; and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake and were choked.
“When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.
“Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.” Luke, ch. viii. 32-37.

* UAF 2006 *


Cuts page should grow, if I am to get to this project again. Dodin make the show in Petersburg three-night long. TV serial?

Cut the Barbara line (althoug Mother-Son is important for the "Stavrogin" titled story, she is in love with him, too - Freud?). What about Father (spiritual), who lives with his mother?

I am under Beckett's influence now (Godot), the absurd is the method in the Possessed (logic of murder), TERROR is expression of terror existential! OBL is a teenager (in his historical time-frame), European thought had in XIX century...

Beckett and Dostoevsky [ ]

vTheatre PM project

"Utopia Project"


... another look at the story.


2005: the story will have another life, if I have anough time and energy for the screen version "Demons: Take Two"...
"In the Devils, Dostoevsky adapts the idea of a revolutionary group from a case that occurred in 1869. He combines the Nechayev case and his own beliefs in order to create the central plot of the Devils. Dostoevsky depicts a radical group that desires to overthrow the government and undermine the Russian church. The extremists hope to replace themselves at the helm of the country by displacing those who are currently in power. The strengths of the group are their ability to remain clandestine, their intelligence, and their ability to commit horrific crimes with little remorse. However, the entire group crumbles at the pinnacle of their actions.
The entire novel takes place in a small town outside of Petersburg and is narrated by a man named Mr. Govorov. Mr. Govorov does not witness every conversation first hand, but nonetheless the narrator describes the story as if he partook in every situation or as a chronicler, who had the events described to him. We know very little of Mr. Govorov, except that he is a close friend of Stephan Trofimovich. [ summary ]
I used the play by Camus, but hoping that while working on the show I can develop the original composition... July 2003 (new title -- 'Terror'?)

"Nothing and ever was more unbearable for a man and a society than freedom," Dostoevsky.

Demons, Devils, The Possessed
2004: Looks like my post-production cycle (web) is to become the pre-production -- for the film!

Another rewrite -- but why film?

There are two reviews on this book's adaptations to stage (somewhere on my webpages), both are in Russia and both are by great directors (Dodin and Vijda), both are not masterpieces. In fact, I haven't seen a single great show based on Dostoevsky. Is it possible that the screen is more suitable for "dialogic realism," Mr. Bakhtin?

Dostoevsky Research in Russian




Stepan Verkhovensky

Pyotr Verkhovensky

Nicolai Stavrogin



Captain Lebyadkin







Varvara Stavrogin

Marya Lebyadkin


Liza Tushina

The Girl

The Possessed : Scene List by Character

[ An (X) next to a character's name denotes that character's death in that scene. ]

1 - Varvara's: Varvara, Stepan, Stavrogin, Shatov, Dasha, Gagnov, Liputin, Shigalov, Virginsky

2 - Kirilov and Shatov's dwelling: Maurice, Kirilov

3 - Kirilov and Shatov's dwelling: Maria, Shatov, The Captain

4 - Varvara's: Stepan, Shatov, Varvara, Lisa, Maria, The Captain, Peter, Stavrogin, Maurice, Dasha

5 - Varvara's: Stavrogin, Peter, Stepan

6 - Rooming house: Stavrogin, Kirilov, Shatov

7 - Bridge: Stavrogin, Fedka

8 - The Captain and Maria's dwelling: The Captain, Maria, Stavrogin

9 - The street: Stavrogin, Fedka

10 - Duel -- The forest: Kirilov, Maurice, Stavrogin, Gaganov

11 - Varvara's: Dasha, Stavrogin, Peter

12 - Rooming house: Kirilov, Shatov, Peter, Liputin, Virginsky, Shigalov, Lyamshin, The Seminarian, Stavrogin

13 - The street & Varvara's: Stavrogin, Peter, Dasha

14 - Tihon's cell - Stavrogin, Tihon(voice-over)

15 - Varvara's: Stavrogin, Peter, Stepan, Varvara, Lisa, Maurice

15A - The Captain and Maria's dwelling: The Captain(X), Maria(X), Fedka

16 - Country house: Stavrogin, Lisa, Peter

17 - The street: Lisa(X), Maurice(X), Stepan

18 - Shatov's room: Mary, Shatov, Kirilov, Lyamshin

19 - Murder -- The forest: Peter, Virginsky, Liputin, Shigalov, Shatov(X)

20 - The street: Peter, Fedka

21 - Rooming house: Kirilov, Peter, Mary(X) (Also, Mary's newborn(X))

22 - Varvara's: Varvara, Stepan(X), Dasha, Stavrogin(X)

I know that I can't force the story on stage again. So, take two is the screenplay. Of sorts. Bergman' style. Not a director's script, by of readers!

Next: intro

Nechaev story took place in St. Petersburg. Dostoevsky read and wrote it in Germany -- and placed his story in some provincial town. Why -- I ask myself?

I trust his instincts and I believe that he wanted to make it more ordinary, anywhere and everyplace tale.

How much could the genius know about our "war on terror"? Well, he was the first who noticed and recognized the birth of Russian terrorism (we know the rest of the story from history). Of course there are many reasons why it took place in Mother-Russia, enough said about it. What Dostoevsky was interested in is not so much the geography, but the nature of this phenomena, which is universal.

I didn't stage "The Possessed" as a period piece -- I don't know how to do it, because I have no interest in it. I thought about taking the story all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska, but I didn't want to rewrite everything -- too much work and the distance which each good tale needs would be gone. Besides, I'm directing it, staging, not writing...

Well, I ended up with countless rewrites, up to the opening night. Why?

If you would take a closer look at the novel, you notice rather sophisticated organization of what Bakhtin named "chronotope" (Eisenstein would say "accelerated montage"). The time of the story becomes faster and the places collapse into one. My actors were joking that I making it into a new story "Stavrogin" -- but the actual place where action is in Stavrogin's head and heart (very much like in "Crime and Punishment" -- Raskolnikov). What did I just say? Hello, movie!

The Chronology of the Drafts:

Don't rewrite it into a modern story, I keep saying -- it could be Turkey 2005 or Rifle, Co. -- I need no justification for TV news and phones.

Enough about my struggle with Camus. If not for his play I wouldn't dare to wrestle with the 800+ pages gorilla. But I followed his appreciation and respect for Dostoevsky.

And the cause. "War on Terror" has no end, if we understand anything about the century of existentialism. You can't fight this war with tanks and smart bombs. This is a war of a single man against all. This is the war, which aim is not victory, the war of desperation and the suicides. This is the new war in the age of the global village.

What is the point of this war?

Answer the old question by the young man Hamlet -- and then we can talk.

This war is personal and has many personal reasons; each time they are different. Unabomber and Colombine -- what do they have in common with OBL?

Only one thing -- the terror of life, the fear of existance.

Never felt it?

Then forget it, man! Is there suffering on this new earth? On our earth we can truly love only with suffering and through suffering! We know not how to love otherwise. We know no other love. I want suffering in order to love. - Dream of a Ridiculous Man

etext (UAF library):

Small Chekhov: Farces & Love Letters - Fall 2005

Brodsky DVD

Russian Movies

Russian Classical Music

Russian Children Books

Russian History

Russian Art

Russian Politics

Russian Culture

Russian Literature

Russian People

* GODOT.06: Doing Beckett => main stage Theatre UAF Spring 2006 *

* The Possessed texts files