Fraser Grace’s new stage play is based on The River Potudan by the great, yet little known, Russian writer Andrey Platonov (1899-1951). Struggling against the censor for much of his life, Platonov left behind a body of work that is only now being widely read in the west. It includes many unfinished novels, abandoned plays and some ground-breaking short stories. All are marked by a fierce earthiness, with a stark poetry in the writing.
Based on a short story by the Russian writer Andrey Platonov, BLISS tells the tragi-comic tale of a young couple trying to build a life against the odds.
As Nikita struggles to overcome what we now might recognise as PTSD, the audience is drawn into considering some very contemporary themes; of how a society needs time to recover from catastrophe; how real love has both passionate and practical faces; of how the future is built by those who somehow manage to survive their past, however traumatic that is.
With a cast of five actors, and a minimal (but magical) staging that reflects the material paucity of the world of the play, BLISS also introduces some boisterous and comic characters and situations as Nikita first tries to escape his situation - and even himself - before finally finding a way home – to end at a new beginning.
Fraser Grace is an award-winning playwright whose work has been commissioned by The RSC, BBC and now by the Voronezh International Festival Russia. His production Breakfast with Mugabe was produced by The RSC at Stratford and on the West End.
This world premiere production of BLISS was commissioned by Voronezh International Theatre Festival It opened in June 2019 in Andrey Platonov's home town of Voronezh before transferring to the UK.
It is designed and directed by Paul Bourne with Musical Composition by Michaela Polakova.
Directed by Paul Bourne
Paul is the Artistic Director of Menagerie Theatre in Cambridge. Formerly Artistic Director of The Frankfurt Playhouse and Center Stage New York, Paul regularly freelance directs and teaches theatre in the UK, Europe and the US.
Over the past 25 years he has directed and produced over 90 professional productions in 10 different countries. The majority of these have been world premieres of new plays by writers such as Fraser Grace, Steve Waters, Janice Okoh, Anna Reynolds and Craig Baxter.
He has also been the Artistic Director of The Hotbed Festival of New Writing at The Junction in Cambridge since 2002, Chairman of the Jury for the Brno International Theatre Festival, and Co-Artistic Director of Theatre 6-16 in Prague.