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Gleb J. Albert (ed.), Nikolaj Evreinov, ...: The Steps of Nemesis

Nikolaj Evreinov, Gleb J. Albert (ed.), Sylvia Sasse (ed.)

The Steps of Nemesis
A Dramatic Chronicle in Six Scenes from Party Life in the USSR (1936–1938)

Translated by Zachary Murphy King

with an afterword by Gleb J. Albert and Sylvia Sasse

Softcover, 224 pages

PDF, 224 pages

In the 1910s the Russian theater director and theorist Nikolai Evreinov (1879-1953) insisted on the theatricalization of life. Twenty years later Evreinov, who had left Russia in 1924, was in exile in Paris when Stalin staged three elaborate political show trials in Moscow. Now he meticulously read the transcripts of the trials in the Russian-language press, collected material on Nikolai Bukharin and the other defendants, consulted with experts, and finally wrote a play, his response to the staging of a judicial farce. With this response, he possibly also wanted to rehabilitate his idea of the theatricalization of life. After all, the theatricalization of life does not mean performing false confessions, constructing conspiracies, fabricating facts, or casting hired witnesses. In his theatrical theory, Evreinov was concerned not to make the theater of life invisible. His play is therefore not a historical reconstruction, but an imaginary look behind the scenes, in which the Stalinist perpetrators confess to the real crime in the end: the theater.

  • 7–12

    In Place of a Preface

  • 13–178

    The Steps of Nemesis

  • 179–200

    The Confession of the Theater. Nikolai Evreinov’s “Restaging” of the Moscow Show Trials

  • 201–224

    Evreinov’s Archive

  • politics
  • performativity
  • revolution
  • re-enactment
  • Russia

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Sylvia Sasse

Sylvia Sasse

is a professor of Slavic studies at the University of Zurich and co-founder of the ZKK (Centre for Arts and Cultural Theory), member of ZGW (Center "History of Knowledge"), and co-editor of "Geschichte der Gegenwart" (

Other texts by Sylvia Sasse for DIAPHANES