“We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Premiere 15th May 2015
Attis Theatre – “New Space”
Zero Point Theatre Group presents Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopic-futuristic novel We.
Fragment from the play:
My dear, you are a mathematician. More—you are a mathematical philosopher. Well, then: name me the final number.
What do you mean? I … I don’t understand: what final number?
Well, the final, the ultimate, the largest.
But that’s preposterous! If the number of numbers is infinite, how can there be a final number?
Then how can there be a final revolution? There is no final one; revolutions are infinite. The final one is for children: children are frightened by infinity, and it’s important that children sleep peacefully at night…
A few words upon the play:
We is set in the future. D-503, a spacecraft engineer, lives in the One State, an urban nation constructed almost entirely of glass, which allows the secret police/spies to inform on and supervise the public more easily. The structure of the state is analogous to the prison design concept developed by Jeremy Bentham commonly referred to as the Panopticon. Furthermore, life is organized to promote maximum productive efficiency along the lines of the system advocated by the hugely influential F. W. Taylor. People march in step with each other and wear identical clothing. There is no way of referring to people save by their given numerical codes. The society is run strictly by logic or reason, as the primary justification for the laws of the society.The individual’s behaviour is based on logic by way of formulas and equations outlined by the One State.
Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin (1884-1937) was born in Lebedyan, Tambov Governorate, 300 km south of Moscow. His father was a Russian Orthodox priest and schoolmaster, and his mother a musician. He studied naval engineering in Saint Petersburg from 1902 until 1908; during that time he joined the Bolsheviks. He was arrested during the Russian Revolution of 1905 and sent into internal exile in Siberia. However, he escaped and returned to Saint Petersburg, where he lived illegally before moving to Finland in 1906, to finish his studies. After returning to Russia, he began to write fiction as a hobby. He was arrested and exiled a second time in 1911, but amnestied in 1913. Despite having been a prominent Old Bolshevik, Zamyatin was deeply disturbed by the policies pursued by the CPSU following the October Revolution. In 1921, We became the first work banned by the Soviet censorship board. Zamyatin arranged for We to be smuggled to the West for publication. The subsequent outrage sparked within the Party and the reaction of the Union of Soviet Writers, led Zamyatin to appeal directly to Joseph Stalin, requesting permission to leave the Soviet Union. With the encouragement of Maxim Gorky, Stalin decided to grant Zamyatin’s request in 1931. Zamyatin settled with his wife in Paris, where he collaborated with French film director Jean Renoir. Renoir’s 1936 adaptation of Gorky’s The Lower Depths was co-written by Zamyatin.
Yevgeny Zamyatin died in poverty, from a heart attack in 1937. Zamyatin’s grave can be found in Cimetière de Thiais, south of Paris.
Director – theatrical adaptation – stage installation: Savvas Stroumpos
Translation from the Russian language, construction of musical instruments and chairs: David Malteze
Music: Ellie Ingliz
Light designer: Kostas Bethanis
Costumes: Airam Maria Papadopoulou
Construction of the installation: Charalambos Terzopoulos
Dramaturgy: Maria Sikitano
Make up: Virginia Tsihlaki
Photo credits: Antonia Canta
Video & trailer credits: Chrisanthi Badeka
Poster: Soul Design
Contact: Marianna Papaki, Nontas Douzinas[/one_half]
David Malteze: D-503
Eleana Georgouli: I-330
Ellie Ingliz: Narrator
Evelyn Assouant: Ο-90
“Happiness or Freedom?” About the One State, Numbering and Revolution.
by Savvas Stroumpos