Oistros Theatre Company

Mikhail Bulgakov

 «Crimson Island»


 Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, Black box



Oistros Theatre Company presents on the 8th of November and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday «Crimson Island», an allegorical comedy by Mikhail Bulgakov                               in the Black Box of ?Michael Cacoyiannis? Foundation for 15 performances only.

Mikhail Bulgakov, a playwright persecuted by the censorship of his time, produces a play in which he unravels the world of theatre in its glamorous and dark sides. In a                      semi – autobiographical text, he presents a young Russian playwright who presents his latest play entitled «Crimson Island» to a famous theatre in Moscow. The censor?s arrival is imminent and the company is obliged to present the play in a run-through straight away. The truths of both life and the stage converse as the viewer watches reality filtered through a theatrical kaleidoscope.

«Crimson Island» is an allegory and even though it?s written in a comedic style, is, in essence, a political piece presenting the vanity of authority and the deep need of the masses to gather round the next «savior».

Oistros Theatre Company dives in the virgin waters  of «Crimson Island» and sets up a comedic carnival of innocence. Under the sounds of live music and the beat given by the percussion ensemble of Vassilis Vassilatos, the company stares authority right in the eyes in an effort not to be seduced by it.


The story

The story told by Bulgakov takes place within a final run-through of a theatre company that is about to present the play of a fledgling Russian playwright. His play is about a remote island in the middle of nowhere called Crimson Island, a place rich in natural wealth, home to not so bright a ruler who lives in luxury and his people who live in poverty. European officials visit the island and understand that it?s not only a tourist?s paradise but also a seemingly endless source of wealth for them to exploit. Five hundred pounds of pearls are exchanged for ten crates of rum and a used leather suitcase.

But fate wills it so, that the active volcano on the island devours the ruler. Kiri Kouki, taking advantage of the gap of power-structure on the island together with the need of people for hope, rises to the throne. He bears all the qualities necessary to bring a new era to the island. He is well-educated, well-mannered and speaks foreign languages, so that he can do business with the Europeans when they come to claim the wealth that is «rightfully» theirs.

This story sounds eerily familiar…

Bulgakov’s comedic allegory is frighteningly applicable to our time…