Devils, deviance and deliverance: Russian play premieres on campus this Wednesday

Julia Fechter

Photo by Julia Fechter

The Charlie Daniels Band would have you believe that the devil came down to Georgia. However, a new play to be performed at Georgia Southern University chronicles the devil’s chaotic trip to Russia, so perhaps the truth is a little bit of both.

Georgia Southern theater students will perform the play “Master and Margarita” at the Black Box Theater on campus starting Wednesday, April 17.

The play was written by Mikhail Bulgakov and specifically adapted for Georgia Southern’s theater program by Stacia Saint Owens.

It shows the ill-intended escapades of the devil, who is called Woland (pronounced Vo-land), and his band of demons, as they visit Stalinist-era Moscow. The group wreaks havoc as they indulge in a variety of activities ranging from vampire attacks to hosting a Satanic ball.

Tyair Blackman, the assistant director for the play and a junior theater major, described how the play dually explores the troubled romance of a man called the master and his love interest, Margarita.

The master, while navigating his relationship with Margarita, is trying to finish writing a play about Pontius Pilate, in the context of the anti-religious Communist society. And, as it so happens, Woland’s misadventures are woven into the fabric of the master’s story in some rather unexpected ways.  

Blackman elaborated that Nick Newell, the director of “Master and Margarita,” chose the play because of Newell’s belief in familiarizing students with many different genres of subject matter and Newell’s desire to push the actors and set designers in an overall learning experience.

As well, Blackman said that the play is more than a political commentary on just Stalinist Russia.

“Particularly with how more heavy-handed the [American] government is being in today’s political climate,” Blackman said, “it’s sort of adding another frame of reference to whether things that happened that are kind of similar to what’s happening now are happening.”

“Master and Margarita” runs from Apr. 17-24. There is no Apr. 21 show.$12 admission for faculty, staff and community members$6 for students, seniors and military members To make reservations, call 912-478-5379 or purchase by going to the Georgia Southern University Marketplace.