Nikolai Erdman lived in the era that led to the art boom of the early 20th century in Europe and wrote the play “The Suicide” in 1928. Its performance was banned by the Stalinist regime and was produced for the first time in Russia a few years after Erdman’s death.
Semyon Semyonovich Podsekalnikov, the play’s central character, is in despair because of his long-term unemployment, while his environment believes, due to a misunderstanding, that he has decided to commit suicide. Thus, a horde of people representing the intelligentsia, the church, the business world, the arts, as well as their selfish self, passes by Semyon’s house trying to convince him to kill himself to their interest.
It is an amazing bitter comedy, an impressive theatrical play, popular and emancipated of any feeling of guilt, whose structure and conception remind us of Mayakovsky’s poetry and the golden age of silent films.
First performed at the NTNG