Vladimir Sharov: Репетиции (Rehearsals)

The latest addition to my website is Vladimir Sharov‘s Репетиции (Rehearsals). This is a thoroughly original book which starts in seventeenth century Russia and ends some time after the Russian Revolution. We follow the religious upheavals in the time of Patriarch Nikon and his attempt to put on a mystery play of all the Gospels, to help bring about Palestine in Russia and the return of Christ who, this time, will come to Russia. A French actor manager, Jacques de Sertan, organises a group of amateur (and illiterate) actors but it all goes wrong when Nikon is condemned by the Synod and Sertan and the actors are sent to Siberia. Though Sertan dies en route, the actors manage to keep the idea alive, continually rehearsing, and passing on roles to their heirs, till after the Russian Revolution. It is about religion but it is about a lot more than that and it is wonderful that, twenty-five years after its publication in Russian, it is now available in English.

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