2017 brings with it much reflection and commentary on the Bolshevik revolution that shook the world 100 years ago. Right on time -- again -- Platonov's powerful, unsparing, clear-eyed dramatization of some of the terrible consequences of the revolution is right where it should be: on stage.
Medicine Show presents Fourteen Little Red Huts in a limited run from October 18th to November 18th. Author Andrei Platonov (1899-1951), is best known for his dystopian novel The Foundation Pits. This play is about a terrible period in Soviet history, during the Soviet bureaucracy, led by Stalin, pursued a policy of forced collectivization of the peasantry of Russia and the Ukraine. The policy included "Dekulakization," the elimination of an entire class of peasant deemed to be counter-revolutionary because they owned livestock or small plots of land, and then famine as a state policy. More civilians lost their lives in what amounted to a war against Russian and Ukrainian peasants than in all the combatant nations during the whole of World War I.
Platonov did not write his play with the benefit of any intervening time between the ideologically inspired and organized mass murder of the nineteen-thirties. He wrote it as the murders and the crimes were being committed. He was there, sent with other Soviet writers, including Boris Pasternak, to report on conditions in the new collective farms. What Pasternak witnessed prevented him from writing anything at all for a decade after. Platonov took copious notes, in notebooks that, had they been inspected, would have meant instant imprisonment or death.
Platonov called the plays that came out of this immediate engagement with the reality of forced collectivization "tragicomedies." Fourteen Little Red Huts he regarded as more tragic than comic. Whatever the balance (and there is much dark humor in the play) the achievement is astonishing. The play is more than the outcry or warning by one who was there, it is a work of art, as universal as it is specific, universal because of its specificity.
Running from Wednesday, October 18th through Saturday, November 18th Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 Sundays at 5:00
Directed by Ioan Ardelean
with Bill Blechingburg ~ Steve Capra ~ Zulivet Diaz ~ David Elyha ~ Felix Gardon ~ Amanda J. Ifrah ~ Danielle Aziza ~ Poorna Sidney
Costumes by Lina Sarrello Set by Chris Brandt Lighting & Sound by Richard Keyser
Medicine Show Theatre (View)
549 W 52nd St, 3rd Fl
New York, NY 10019