Comedy/ 10 Characters, 5 Women, 5 Men/ Full Length, Two Acts
Synopsis (From The Globe and Mail [Toronto]): “This amusing two-act biography of the great Russian novelist’s much put-upon wife is set in 1910, the year Tolstoy died. By that time, his relations with Sofya, the woman he had once passionately loved, were only acrimonious.
“With a surprisingly comic approach, Moher tells a story about a final row over the publication of Tolstoy’s diaries, which would have exposed his wife to public humiliation. First he gives Sofya some fictional allies: Anna Karenina and Dolly Oblonsky from Anna Karenina and Prince Andrey from War and Peace appear on stage to offer some advice. The other principal fantasy figure is Vanechka, the Tolstoys’ dead son. In a darkly funny twist, the 12-year-old’s ghost wants his mother to make good on her threats of suicide so that she can join him in the cold place where he now dwells.
“[Tolstoy’s] family members are as much his manipulative creations as his fictional characters . . . Certainly the Tolstoy’s marriage, with its petty fights, huge jealousies, and a histrionic deathbed scene in a railway station where the novelist had fallen ill, is the stuff of farce. But it is also the stuff of tragedy: Tolstoy destroyed his wife’s character and then could not live with the embittered, half-crazy creature he created.”
“Captures the farcical aspects of Leo and Sofya’s marriage brilliantly . . . clever, funny.”
– The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Strikes a perfect balance between the poignant and the comic . . . a gleefully irreverent gem.”
-Fast Forward Weekly (Calgary)
Amateur and professional rights:
Single Lane Entertainment,
650 Little Blvd.,
Gabriola Island, B.C.,
Ph.: (in North America) 1-888-247-9216; or 250-247-9216
Playwright’s website: FrankMoher.com
About the Playwright: Frank Moher’s plays have been produced internationally, at theatres including South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, Calif.), Detroit Repertory Theatre, Round House Theatre (Silver Spring, Maryland), the Canadian Stage Company (Toronto), the Wellington Repertory Theatre (Wellington, New Zealand), Workshop West Theatre (Edmonton, Alta.), the Asolo Theater (Sarasota, Fla.), Alberta Theatre Projects (Calgary), Dodona Theatre (Prishtina, Kosova), The Mingei Theatre (Tokyo), and OmaDa Theatre (Athens, Greece). He has won a Los Angeles Drama-Logue Award for Writing (for Odd Jobs), the Edmonton Sterling Award for Outstanding New Play (for both The Third Ascentand Prairie Report,), and is published by both ProPlay and the Playwrights Guild of Canada.
Frank has taught at the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta (where he was a Distinguished Visiting Artist), and is currently an instructor in scriptwriting and journalism at Vancouver Island University. He has also worked professionally as a literary manager and dramaturg, and writes regularly for various magazines and newspapers, including backofthebook.ca. His most recent play, Big Baby, has been seen in Calgary, Los Angeles, and widely in Europe, and a musical, Moonbound!, with music co-written by Antonio Gradanti, which premiered in 2014, is now available on ProPlay.
Tolstoy’s Wife was premiered by Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary, in January, 1997
Also by Frank Moher on ProPlay: