Stone back at Belvoir

Simon Stone returns to Belvoir St Downstairs Theatre to direct his new adaptation of Nikolai Erdman’s comedy The Suicide. Banned before it premiered in Stalin’s Soviet Union in 1928, this controversial comedy of errors comes to B Sharp hot on the heels of Stone’s award winning production The Only Child (2009).

The Suicide follows the hapless Semyon Semyonovich who finds himself entrenched in an existential crisis. Stuck living with his mother in law and a wife who refuses him midnight snacks, he disappears into the night. While those around him are convinced he’s on the verge of suicide his opportunistic neighbours start a bidding war for dedicating rights in Semyon’s suicide note. Every political, social and personal cause is aired, culminating in a party to see him off.

The Suicide was banned by Stalin’s Cultural Propaganda Department. However, the play rapidly gained a reputation within Soviet playwrights and drew admiration from Erdman’s peers including Brecht and Gorki, and has drawn comparisons with the work of Nikolai Gogol.

Director Simon Stone said: “After several dramas, I wanted to turn my hands to an all-out comedy. Something purely farcical. A comedy based on anxiety and fear, but a hilarious comedy nonetheless. Erdman’s extraordinary original conceit, his outrageous and intricately worked-out plot, his love of humanity while putting all its imperfections under the microscope, all this has provided us with a sturdy framework to present our vision of the unsteady contemporary world. I’m thrilled to be playing in the B Sharp space again – that intimate and imaginative cauldron of human interaction.”

This production is presented by The Hayloft Project – a Melbourne-based ensemble company committed to producing theatre for contemporary audiences using the framework of classic and canonical texts. Acclaimed Director Simon Stone made his Company B Belvoir debut in 2009 with The Promise. For B Sharp he has directed Spring Awakening (2008) and The Only Child (2009) which recently won Best Independent Production at the 2009 Sydney Theatre Awards.

Company B Belvoir’s Downstairs Theatre Director, Annette Madden, said: “Once again, we are delighted to welcome Simon and the Hayloft Project to work their magic in our little theatre. It is an exciting project that will continue our relationship; we are looking forward to seeing what they make of The Suicide.”

B Sharp will welcome the return of Gareth Davies, Shelly Lauman, Anne-Louise Sarks and Tom Wren who previously appeared in the Belvoir St Downstairs Theatre in The Only Child and Aaron Orzech who appeared in Spring Awakening. Johnny Carr is a welcome addition to the Hayloft team.

The play opens at the Belvoir Street Theatre on Thursday, March 18. Bookings: (02) 9699 3444

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