Dead Letter Perfect announce the world premiere of Olivia Olsen’s Stray Dogs at Park Theatre, London.
Dead Letter Perfect have announced the world première of Stray Dogs. Robin Herford directs Olivia Olsen (Anna Akhmatova), Ben Porter (Isaiah Berlin) and Ian Redford (Joseph Stalin). The production opens at Park Theatre on Friday 15 November running until 7 December 2019.
Anna Akhmatova, the most celebrated poet of her generation, has lost her first husband to the purges and her son to state prison, where he awaits execution. Now, Stalin, the tyrant responsible for the murder of everyone close to her, wants a favour…
Plunged so far into obscurity she is believed to be dead, Anna is offered a renewal of life when the Russian/British philosopher Isaiah Berlin risks the hazards behind the iron curtain to find her. But in a world where poetry is a force that can control and move masses for good or ill, which side of the curtain will her loyalty lead her? How far will she go to save a life? How far will she go to save herself?
Based on true events, Stray Dogs depicts the story of one of the most extraordinary women of the 20th century, as she must choose between her duty to her son, her country, her art and herself. This urgent and relevant play explores the nature of tyranny and how it affects both the political landscape of the past and the present.
Olivia Olsen said today, ‘Stray Dogs is a homage to Anna Akhmatova, a poet laureate living during Stalin’s great purges, an homage to all voices that have been and are gagged. Poetry is beyond politics, beyond advertising, entertainment and beyond information, necessary and dangerous.
Stalin knew this. He knew literature was a weapon and needed Akhmatova’s fame and genius to ﬁll a void… I wrote the play to ﬁnd out how Akhmatova, whose poetry was born in the Stray Dog Cabaret in St. Petersburg, answered.’