Collaborators

★ ★ ★ ★
‘Rare and special… An absurdly fantastic view of Stalin, and it’s seriously funny.’
The Times

Photomontage of Stalin as puppetmaster of Bulgakov

Collaborators

a new play by John Hodge

Collaborators was extended with a run in the Olivier Theatre.

Moscow, 1938. A dangerous place to have a sense of humour; even more so a sense of freedom. Mikhail Bulgakov, living among dissidents, stalked by secret police, has both. And then he’s offered a poisoned chalice: a commission to write a play about Stalin to celebrate his sixtieth birthday.

Inspired by historical fact, Collaborators embarks on a surreal journey into the fevered imagination of the writer as he loses himself in a macabre and disturbingly funny relationship with the omnipotent subject of his drama.

Killing my enemies is easy. The challenge is to change the way they think, to control their minds. And I think I controlled yours pretty well. In years to come, I’ll be able to say: Bulgakov? Yeah, we even trained him. He gave up. He saw the light. We broke him, we can break anybody. It’s man versus monster, Mikhail. And the monster always wins.

John Hodge’s blistering new play depicts a lethal game of cat and mouse through which the appalling compromises and humiliations inflicted on any artist by those with power are held up to scrutiny.

Alex Jennings played Bulgakov and Simon Russell Beale, Stalin.

This production ran from 25 October 2011 to 31 March 2012

original photos © Corbis

  • War Horse
  • War Horse on Tour - close up of horse's eye, with sketch of horse and rider just below
  • King Lear with Simon Russell-Beale
  • A Taste of Honey with Lesley Sharp and Kate O'Flynn on a terraced street
  • Home by Nadia Fall
  • A Small Family Business. With Nigel Lindsay in a warehouse
  • The Silver Tassie, with a photo of Ronan Raftery in British army uniform
  • Yellow Face
  • One Man Two Guvnors poster with Owain Arthur
  • The Animals and Children Took to the Streets, by 1927
  • The Roof - title treatment on concrete chasm looking up with free-runner leaping across the void
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • 100 Acts of Minor Dissent. Photo of Mark Thomas
  • James I - photo of James McArdle against a stormy sky
  • Ballyturk
  • James II - photo of Andrew Rothney against a stormy sky
  • James III - photo of Jamie Sives against a stormy sky
  • The James Plays
  • Treasure Island. graphic outline of a sailing galleon on a calm sea at night with stars