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
  • One Man, Two Guvnors. A 50 star hit, with three tour cast members and suitcases
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • National Theatre Watch This Space Festival St John's Church. A man and woman loosely roped together, performing before a crowd.
  • National Theatre Watch This Space Festival on the road. photo of a crowd clutching suitcases, many wearing caps, all looking up and in the same direction
  • National Theatre Watch This Space Festival Lambeth. Bare-chested man carrying woman in a dress, beneath a canopy of trees
  • Medea
  • National Theatre Watch This Space Festival Southwark. A couple embracing beneath trees
  • Great Britain at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in the West End
  • James I: The Key Will Keep the Lock
  • Ballyturk
  • James II: Day of the Innocents
  • NYT - Selfie
  • James III: The True Mirror
  • NYT - Private Peaceful
  • The James Plays
  • Here Lies Love. Imelda Marcos with a microphone against a vivid coloured background
  • Romeo and Juliet - sun shining through a heart shaped by hands
  • JOHN, a co-production with DV8 Physical Theatre. Photo of Hannes Langolf by Ben Hopper
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Collage of a boy on a rubbish heap with a passenger jet flying overhead
  • 3 Winters. Black and white photomontage of a young woman. Photo © Jagoda Kaloper-Tajder
  • Treasure Island. graphic drawing of a parrot