A Mu Szinház, a Pont Színház, a Trafó, Kortárs M¦vészetek Háza, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a ROTOR Productions és TCG / ITI


Lev Nyikolajevics Tolsztoj:
A sötétség hatalma

A magyar szöveget Németh László fordításának és Jay Scheib
szövegváltozatának felhasználásával írta Merényi Anna

Pletl Zoltán, Pogány Judit, Scherer Péter, Urbanovits Krisztina, Pereszlényi Erika, Enyedi Eva, Vajna Balázs, Keszég László, Isabelle Lê, Jeremy Morris, Leah Gelpe, Márkos Albert, Merényi Anna, Ken Roraback, Jay Scheib

or, if the claw is caught the bird is lost...
Tolstoy’s Power of Darkness is a tragedy without royalty, without kings or princesses. Darkness in the title points dually to Night and to Evil. As in many Greek tragedies there is a quality of darkness (a general lack of illumination) a dark spot on the landscape—emanating from this darkness is a crime. One crime is the mother of a second crime, and another in an ever-mounting spiral of crimes—crime crime crime until the final crime. Until devastation can be percieved no more.
This play is about common ordinary individuals caught up in an extraordinary cycle of opportunistic self-loathing—adultery, theft, murder, sensless violence, infanticide... But these are not Kings, these are Farmers. They are workers. Not necessarily bad people—ie they are not hardened criminal types. These individuals are incapable of seeing the options that exist for them.
The play was written by Tolstoy in the late 19th century. My interest is in making the play today—and making it about America. This has a number of ramifications. The distance between today and the late 19th century is vast in some ways but many of our concerns have not changed substantially. Coca-Cola was invented in the late 19th century—and soon will represent all that is wrong with the insatiablity of global capitalism. Custer’s last stand took place in the ends of the 19th century and the mass genocide of the Native American peoples is begun a new chapter—that of the reservation. This chapter continues—regrettably—to this day. There has not yet been an apology.
The American Buffalo at the end of the 19th century was brought near to extinction. They were slaughtered for their pelts and their carcasses were left to rot, while Native Americans on reservations were forced to starve.
Of course there are many many things happening at that time—the bicycle is invented as is the phonograph, the Russian Revolution looms on the horizon, the death penalty in Russia had been recently reinstated, Sigmund Freud publishes the Interpretation of Dreams, the NAACP is soon founded.... and somehow these things are clear in the play that Tolstoy has written. It is possible in his work to sense the movements of the world.
America Today is simply, where to begin? An American taste for tragedy has blossomed into an ever-growing appreciation for Reality-based television. In this climate Naturalism has taken some unexpected twists. Strindberg called it Super Naturalism.



MAY 13, 14, 15 2005 at TRAFO, Budapest



(from a letter written by TOLTOY to Mr. Edward Garnett)

… it seemed to me impossible that I could send any message to the American people. But thinking over it at night, it came to me that, if I had to address the American people, I should like to thank them for the great help I have received from their writers who flourished about the fifties (1850’s). I would mention Garrison, Parker, Emerson, Ballou, and Throeau, not as the greatest, but as those who, I think, specially influenced me. Other names are Channing, Whittier, Lowell, Walt Whitman—a bright constellation, such as is rarely to be found in the literatures of the world.
And I should like to ask the American people why they do not pay more attention to these voices (hardly to be replaced by those of financial and industrial millionaires, or successful generals and admirals), and continue the good work in which they made such hopeful progress.

From The North American Review, April 1901



Snack Bar Owner Arrested in Nanjing Rat Poison Case
Police have arrested a snack bar owner who confessed to spreading lethal rat poison into the food of his business rival on Saturday morning, killing 38 people and leaving hundreds seriously ill.

woman kills ten at husbands funeral.
In central China's Hubei province, a woman motivated by a long-standing family dispute was accused of poisoning the lunch at her husband's funeral last month. Chen Xiaomei had invited much of her village, and her alleged actions killed 10 people, including the local Communist Party secretary, and sickened 23.

"Chen was said to often quarrel bitterly with the eldest daughter-in-law," the official Xinhua News Agency said, adding that the families of Chen's two sons "had long feuded over issues such as division of property and support of their parents."

Other poisonings have involved business rivalries. In September 2002, at least 38 people died in the eastern city of Nanjing when shop owner Chen Zhengping sprinkled Dushuqiang on food from another shop out of what China Central Television said was "resentment." He was executed the following month.


After the play by LEO TOLSTOY, directed by Jay ScheibIn the Golden Age of Coca-Cola Anisya rat-poisons her terminally ill husband Peter for the love of Nikita, who sleeps with Everyone, and gets Everyone pregnant, including his step-daughter Akulina—but when the conniving mother-in-law steps in to set things right . . No one will ever be the same. Power of Darkness.

This is a play about beautiful people make monumentally bad decisions—Repeatedly.

Purveyor of the finest in human disasters, Leo Tolstoy turns his hand to the stage with alarming accuracy, taking us on a joy-ride of repression, depression, love and desire. Well, it's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye for an eye...

Director and adaptor, Jay Scheib, stages this classic of the 19th century Russian stage as though it had been written this morning. In this highly physical, multi-media family drama, Scheib offers a portrait of human beings caught inside the pressure cooker of changing times.

Power of Darkness was written in 1886 by Leo Nikolayevitch Tolstoy (1828-1910), after an actual criminal case. Hailed as a "wonderful thing," Tsar Alexander III under pressure from religious and political adversaries banned the play’s performance in Russia. Power of Darkness premiered instead at the Theatre Libre in Paris in 1888 and was met with massive success, quickly becoming a cornerstone of Naturalism in theater.

85 Events
January 4 - The first successful appendectomy is performed (Dr. William Grant ; patient was Mary Gartside).
January 20 -L.A. Thompson patents the roller coaster .
January 26 - Troops loyal to the Mahdi conquer Khartoum
February 5 - King Leopold II of Belgium establishes the Congo Free State as a personal possession.
February 9 - The first Japan ese arrive in Hawaii .
February 18 -Mark Twain 's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published for the first time.
February 21 - The newly completed Washington Monument is dedicated.
February 26 - Final Act of the Berlin Conference regulates Europe an colonisation and trade in Africa .
March 3 - A subsidiary of the American Bell Telephone Company , American Telephone and Telegraph ( AT&T ), is incorporated in New York .
March 4 -Grover Cleveland replaces Chester A. Arthur as President of the United States .
March-May - North-West Rebellion took place and was put down in Canada
March 31 - The United Kingdom establishes a protectorate over Bechuanaland
May 9 -12 -Canadian government forces inflict decisive defeat on Métis rebels at the Battle of Batoche .
July 6 -Louis Pasteur successfully tests his vaccine against rabies . The patient is Joseph Meister; a boy who was bitten by a rabid dog.
September 2 - In Rock Springs, Wyoming , 150 white miners attack their Chinese coworkers, killing 28, wounding 15, and forcing several hundred more out of town.
September 18 - Union of Eastern Rumelia with Bulgaria proclaimed at Plovdiv .
November 7 -Canadian Pacific Railway finished: In Craigellachie, British Columbia , construction ends on a railway extending across Canada . Prime Minister John A. Macdonald considered the project to be vital to Canada .
November 14 -28 -Serbo-Bulgarian War :Serbia declares war against Bulgaria but is defeated in Battle of Slivnitsa on November 17 -19 .
November 16 -Canadian rebel leader of the Métis ,Louis Riel is executed for high treason .
Creation of the first genuine bicycle , the Rover , by John K Starley.
John Boyd Dunlop invents the pneumatic tyre .
W.S. Gilbert &Arthur Sullivan 's The Mikado

Events ‘86
January 18 - Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England .
January 29 -Karl Benz patents the first successful gasoline -driven automobile
March 17 -Carrollton Massacre : 20 African American s are killed in Mississippi
April 25 -Easter occurs on latest possible date (next in 1943 )
May 8 - Pharmacist Dr. John Styth Pemberton invents a carbonated beverage that would be named " Coca-Cola ."
May 29 - Chemist John Pemberton begins to advertise Coca-Cola (ad in the Atlanta Journal ).
September 4 -Indian Wars : After almost 30 years of fighting, Apache leader Geronimo surrenders with his last band of warriors to General Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon in Arizona .
October 28 - In New York Harbor , US President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty

1887 Events:
January 1 -Queen Victoria becomes Empress of India
January 20 - The United States Senate allows the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a naval base.
January 21 - The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is formed
February 23 - The French Riviera is hit by a large earthquake , killing around 2,000.
January 26 -Battle of Dogali :Abyssinia n troops defeat Italians
February 2 - In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day is observed.
March 4 -Gottlieb Daimler unveils his first automobile
April 4 -Argonia, Kansas elects Susanna Madora Salter as the first female mayor in the United States .
May 9 -Buffalo Bill 's Wild West Show opens in London .
July 26 -L. L. Zamenhof publishes "Dr. Esperanto's International Language" .
July 27 -Giuseppe Peano marries Carola Crosio
L. L. Zamenhof completes the creation of the initial version of Esperanto .
U.S. National Institutes of Health founded
Thomas Stevens is 1st man to bicycle around the world
Michelson-Morley experiment was performed
Gramophone patented by Emile Berliner
The New Gate was built in Jerusalem .

1888 is called the Year of Three Emperors in Germany.Events
January 3 - 91cm telescope first used at Lick Observatory
January 24 -Jacob L. Wortman patents the typewriter ribbon .
January 27 - In Washington, DC the National Geographic Society is founded.
March 11 - The " Great Blizzard of '88 " begins along the eastern seaboard of the United States , shutting down commerce and killing more than 400.
March 22 - The English Football League is formed
May 13 -Brazil abolishes slavery .
August 31 - Mary Ann Nichols is murdered. She is perhaps the first of Jack the Ripper 's victims.
September 4 -George Eastman registers the trademark Kodak , and receives a patent for his camera which uses roll film.
September 8 - In London , the body of Annie Chapman is found. She is considered the second victim of Jack The Ripper .
September 30 - In London , the bodies of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes are found. They are considered Jack the Ripper 's third and fourth victim respectively.
October 9 - The Washington Monument officially opens to the general public.
November 6 -U.S. presidential election, 1888 :Democrat incumbent Grover Cleveland wins the overall popular vote, but is voted out of office because he loses in the Electoral College to Republican challenger Benjamin Harrison .
November 9 - In London the body of Mary Jane Kelly is found. She is considered the fifth and last of Jack the Ripper 's victims. A number of similar murders actually follow but police attribute them to copycat killers.
Gramophone patented by Emile Berliner