By Vladimir Gubaryev. Translated by Michael Glenny.
Cast: 16m., 6w. (doubling possible, extras as desired.) Vladimir Gubaryev, who is not only a playwright but also the science editor of Pravda, was the first scientist/writer allowed into the disaster site of Chernobyl. He was given extraordinary access to everyone involved, and his news stories in Pravda contained the first information conveyed to the rest of the world from the Soviet Union. With the impact of this horrifying experience still within him, he then wrote this searing and incredibly frank play. It's reported that it took the intervention of Gorbachev to allow the play to be produced in Russia, where it was a sensation, as it was soon after when it was produced in London by the Royal Shakespeare Company. As Time magazine described the play, "Set at a research hospital to which radiation victims are sent, the narrative offers straightforward human interest yet also manages to incorporate medical and scientific debate and, impressively, a relentless political inquest into the shortcomings of Soviet bureaucracy. The focal character is a Shakespearean fool, a victim of a laboratory accident who has somehow survived for more than a year. Liberated by his status as a medical miracle and by the fragility of his existence, he asks the questions no one else dares to and utters what others only think. His corrosive wit makes this ferociously entertaining." One int. set.