We are presenting this interview as part of CharPo's new partnership with Upstage—Theatre on Radio on CKUT.
Adapted and Directed by Alexandre Marine, …the itsy bitsy spider.. is based on Fyodr Dostoevsky’s Demons. Intending to show that Russia was being destroyed by radicals, Dostoevsky was overcome by wanting to fictionalize personal experiences associated with a real-life political conspiracy murder.
In an interview with Alexandre Marine, conducted by CKUT Upstage contributor Alison Louder, Marine said. “The play revolves around a missing controversial chapter from Demons that had been censored for decades in Russia.”
The novel follows the story of two families, the Stavrogins and the Verkhovenskys. Stavrogin is the major character of the novel.
Asked why this chapter, the crux of the novel, was censored, Marine replied.
“Without this chapter we would never understand the core of Stavrogin’s bizarre behaviour. Such depictions couldn’t be accepted at the end of the 19th century.”
Though Dostoevsky was known for his precise detailing, Marine said. “In this story, perhaps more significant than the sexual and violent content is that we can see the content of his soul.”
Marine acknowledges bringing Dostoevsky to the stage is a challenge. “Using total theatre approach (dance, silence on stage, immobility, original music) reaches the audience from all aspects and allows for a better understanding of Dostoevsky’s ideas.”
The production being presented in Montreal was performed in New York last year with Studio Six Theatre Company. The actors are former students of Marine. Being taught in the same manner as him at Moscow theatre school allowed them to develop an immediate rapport in working together.
…the itsy bitsy spider… Adapted and directed by Alexandre Marine, based on Dostoevsky’s Demons is being presented as part of WildSide Festival at Centaur Theatre from Jan. 6 to 15. Original music composed by Dmitri Marine.