The Program in Theater presents a senior thesis production of The Monkeys Are Coming! (“Obez’iany idut!”) by Lev Lunts and directed by Gabriel Crouse ’12 on September 30 – October 1 and October 6 – 8, 2011. The play will be performed in a new English translation by Michael Arthur Green, Jerome Katsell and Stanislav Shvabrin. All performances will be held at 8:00 PM in the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio, Lewis Center for the Arts at 185 Nassau Street. Tickets: $10 Students/Seniors and $12 General Admission. For tickets please call University Ticketing at 609.258.9220.
On September 30th the opening performance of The Monkeys Are Coming! will be followed by “A Death Spurned: On The Vitality of Lev Lunts,” a talk by Stanislav Shvabrin and a discussion.
The Monkeys Are Coming! (pub. 1923), Lunts’s enigmatic, genre-defying and unforgettable dramatic undertaking, puts to an exacting test just about every pre-conceived assumption regarding the limits of the theater and theatricality while probing the essence of humanity, dehumanization and fear against the backdrop of a war-Communism-era Petrograd.
Russian-Jewish dramatist, writer, literary theoretician and scholar Lev Natanovich Lunts (German: Leo Lunz, 1901-1924) is known to this forum’s subscribers’ as the spiritus movens of the Serapion Brotherhood. Due to Lunts’s eloquent, fierce opposition to parochialism and totalitarianism in matters aesthetic, his work was thoroughly suppressed in the Soviet Union. Held in high esteem by the likes of Maxim Gorky, Roman Jakobson and Luigi Pirandello, Lunts exerted a singularly powerful influence not only on his fellow Serapions, but also on many of his contemporaries, including Evgenii Shvarts.
So entrenched was the Soviet detestation of Lunts that in his infamous denunciatory oration of 1946 Andrei Zhdanov cited Lunts at length as a token example of everything that was as “pernicious and alien” to Soviet culture as the work of Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Kuzmin, Osip Mandel’shtam, Fedor Sologub, Lidia Zinov’eva-Annibal and Mikhail Zoshchenko.