fbpx "To Die For" by M Elias, after Nikolai Erdman - Haileybury

"To Die For" by M Elias, after Nikolai Erdman


  • Day

    Wednesday 29 November 2023

  • Time

    7.30 pm

  • Location

    Ayckbourn Theatre

  • Price



The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Tickets are no longer available

To Die For” is a darkly comic social satire set in Soviet Russia, based on the 1928 play ‘The Suicide‘ by Nikolai Erdman. It revolves around Semyon, an unemployed man who decides to end his life. However, his announcement attracts a group of self-serving individuals who exploit his situation for their own gain. Semyon’s wife, mother-in-law, friends, and neighbors manipulate him, perceiving him as a martyr or revolutionary symbol. Through satire and absurdity, the play critiques the hypocrisy and opportunism of Soviet society. It delves into themes of desperation, the devaluation of human life, and the moral bankruptcy of a society that profits from tragedy, offering a scathing portrayal of the era.


A disclaimer
To Die For is a farce. A heightened and far-flung comedy. However: it tackles themes of desperation and suicide. Whilst its hero, Semyon, never actually intends to kill himself, the play nevertheless includes scenes with a coffin, which the actor gets into (and out of again) and a monologue in which he debates ending his life. The situations and the characters are heightened and presented in such an extreme that it should be recognised as ridiculous, not realistic. That said, anyone who has been recently bereaved or who feels they might be triggered by such images on stage may be advised to avoid this show. 
My personal belief is that far from an exploration of depression or suicide, the piece urges us to consider:
  1. the value and worth of all human life;
  2. the moral corruption of individuals or social factions who attempt to profit from the plight of those less fortunate than themselves.
It does not explore mental health. Rather, it examines the state of society. We choose to stage it now because, beyond opening an interesting window on a particular historical period, there may be themes and questions which remain socially relevant and pressing even today. Especially today.
Jacob Thomas, Director of Dramatic Arts