Vassa Zheleznova

Vassa Zheleznova $16.99

Maxim Gorky trans Tania Alexander & Tim Suter

Published by AmberLane Press

4 Male 6 Female

Vassa Zheleznova is a woman of iron will and a powerful matriarch. Her tragedy, however, is to see her family destroyed by the very bourgeois values that she seeks to preserve. Tania Alexander and Tim Suter's is the first English translation of the original version of Gorky's play which is an attack on the corruption of human decency by materialism, ambition and greed

It was first broadcast on BBC Radio Three in 1986, winning Billie Whitelaw the Sony Radio Award for Best Actress. Their translation was later adapted and directed by Howard Davies for the Almeida Theatre Company at the Albery Theatre starring Sheila Hancock

"Maxim Gorky wrote two versions of Vassa: the first in 1909, when he was his own man, and the second in 1935, when he was, however reluctantly, Stalin's and had to convey a political message. It is the first version ... that explodes onto the Albery stage ... It is an all-out, slam-bang of a play, all teeth and claws, and hugely enjoyable" ~ David Nathan, Jewish Chronicle

"...a seldom-seen and remarkable play that extends our knowledge of the western canon - in particular, the Russian canon... Gorky is frequently remarkable for his strong women, and it is the title character of Vassa that most distinguishes either version of this play. She is startlingly unscrupulous, ruthless, indomitable ... [But in this first version] the entire play has more comic relief and human warmth to offset its dark central drama" ~ Alistair Macaulay, The Finanical Times

"As a family, Maxim Gorky's disgusting bunch in Vassa make the Munsters look perfect ..[it] presents a dark but often comic slice of gruesome family life in turn-of-the-century Russia" ~ Bill Hagerty, News of the World

"The rawness and brio of this savage, uncompromising early play is an eye-opener..." ~ Michael Coveney, Daily Mail

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