• Yevgeny Zamyatin's



A New Play

Based on the novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Adapted & Directed by Kevin Ray

October 11 – 20, 2024

Brooklyn, NY

The First Novel Banned by the Soviet Union on Stage

Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884 - 1937) was a Russian essayist, playwright, novelist and naval engineer. Initially a Bolshevik, he rejected the party when it insisted all art must be useful to its movement. In response to the party's imposed artistic conformism, Zamyatin declared, “True literature can exist only where it is created, not by diligent and trustworthy functionaries, but by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics.”

WE became the Soviet Union’s first banned book; debuting in a U.S. English translation in 1924. The novel uses science-fiction and satire to expose how trends emerging from the 1917 October Revolution were transforming Russia into an oppressive state. As populist authoritarianism expands across the globe, now is the perfect time to present Zamyatin’s novel on stage.

1,000 years in the future, WE takes place in an authoritarian society called The One State, governed by technological efficiency, rationality and an enforced suppression of individual identity. It is the diary of D-503 (One State citizens have numbers, not names), lead engineer of “The Integral”, a spaceship soon to be deployed on a colonial mission, spreading the regime and culture of The One State across the universe.

D-503 is content with his mechanical, rational life. But after he meets I-330, a mysterious woman with transgressive ideas, irrationality pierces his psyche and he experiences dreams for the first time. As their affair progresses, D-503's full range of humanity blossoms and he begins to see himself as an individual rather than a numeric cog in the collective “we”.

WE is made possible by grant funding from the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR) in the Arts, the Puffin Foundation Ltd., and NYSCA-A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund (A Statewide Theatre Regrant Program).

Production design support provided by the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund, a program of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York).

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