A Life for the Tsar (Teatro Di Capua)

Based on: Ilona Markarova
Direction: Giuliano Di Capua
Sets: Sergey Gusev
Specialist co-operation: Lev Lurye, Alexey Nikonov, Roman Komyenetsky

Cast: Ilona Markarova, Pavel Mikhailov, Alexandr Koshkidko, Igor Ustinovich, Andrey Zhukov

Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes, without an intermission
Premiere: 22 February 2014

The production has received the Golden Soffit 2014 and the Golden Mask 2015 in the Best Small Scale Production category.

Teatro Di Capua

Teatro Di Capua, founded by Giuliano Di Capua and Ilona Markarova in 2008, is one of the youngest Saint-Petersburg theatres. Giuliano Di Capua (born in 1971) – actor, director, Italian, Swiss. Graduated from the Academy of Theatre Arts in St. Petersburg (Russia). Winner of the Golden Mask for Oedipus Rex in 2003. Director of the productions The Vagina Monologues (Eve Ensler), 1900 (A. Baricco), Le Libertin (E. E. Schmitt), Reservoir Dogs (Q. Tarantino), Caucasian Cuisine (performance), Medea. Episodes (Giuliano Di Capua / Alexey Nikonov), a punk-song-opera.

In 2011, the production received the Sergey Kuryokhin Prize and a nomination for the Artemy Troitsky’s Steppenwolf Award. In March 2016, Teatro Di Capua premiered the production In Word and Deed, based on 17th-century documents. The company have given performances in Switzerland, Scotland, France, Poland and Ukraine.

The production A Life for the Tsar (ironically titled in honour of Mikhail Glinka’s famous opera, permeated with the spirit of monarchism) is based on real letters, appeals, declarations, court speeches and memoirs of the members of The People’s Will revolutionary group, active in Russia in the 1870s and 1880s.

The People’s Will

Emerging from a split of an earlier revolutionary organisation, called Land and Liberty, in the autumn of 1879, The People’s Will advocated democratic and socialist reforms in the Russian Empire. The group, primarily made up of young radical intellectuals, espoused acts of revolutionary violence in an attempt to spur mass revolt against the autocracy, culminating in the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in March 1881. The People’s Will fought against the economic backwardness and political oppression in Russia, and its requirements included universal suffrage, a representative democracy, freedom of speech, press and meeting, replacement of the permanent army with volunteer units, the transfer of land to the peasants and factories to the workers, as well as the granting of the right of self-determination to the oppressed nations of Imperial Russia. From 1879 to 1885, the organisation published the illegal paper Narodnaya volya.