Sunday, 30 January 2011

State of Revolution, by Robert Bolt

This is a serious historical play in two acts, first published and performed at the National Theatre in 1977. I went to see the original production, and admired the playwright’s skill in distilling history, and making it excellent theatre on the stage.

It is about the Russian Revolution, focusing on the central figures of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and the other leading Bolsheviks. It teaches much about the characters and events of the revolution. The rise of Stalin is cleverly plotted. Personally, I think Bolt is much too sympathetic towards Lenin, who was clearly a nasty piece of work.

Worth reading and seeing on the stage, if ever anyone chooses to produce it. I think it is a better work than Buechner’s ‘Danton’s death’ which I saw recently at the National.

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