Have you watched the post-show Q&A Faves founder Terri Paddock hosted this week at MIDNIGHT? Catch up here to find out how this brand-new British musical adapted from an Azerbaijani play came about, what Stalin's Great Terror was all about, how you balance natural and supernatural, how lighting frames the stage... but no spoilers! And ask yourself: what would you do if the secret police knocked on your door?
So often with the news these days, parallels are drawn with our turbulent political times and the fascism that swept across Europe in the 1930s, and the question is asked: what would you do if…?
On Thursday, I and the audience at the Union Theatre travelled back to the 1930s care of Midnight, in which the question is not only asked but set to musical refrain. This new British musical by Timothy Knapman (book and lyrics) and Laurence Mark Wythe (music and lyrics) is based on the 2007 play Citizens of Hell by leading Azerbaijani writer Elchin.
It’s set in Azerbaijan on New Year’s Eve, in the very final minutes of 1937, during the communist purges of Stalin’s Great Terror. A man and a woman are at home alone when there’s a worrying knock on the door. Who is the mysterious Visitor? Is he the NKVD secret police or something worse? Who’s hiding what?
Incredibly, Debunk Theatre, and its Azerbaijani producer Sanan Aliyev, commissioned Knapman and Wythe to adapt Citizens of Hell four years ago – before Trump, before Brexit, before Corbyn’s Labour Party, before the rise of the alt-right in Europe, before we got quite so concerned here about Putin – and yet so many references drop like time bombs. Enemies of the people. Enemies of the party. Anti-elitism. If I call a lie a truth, it becomes true. What would you do?
For last night’s post-show Q&A at Midnight, I was joined by the two writers, as well choreographer Chris Cuming (just
Watch the full Q&A video – we all tried very hard not to reveal the secrets of the plot, of which there are many!
For more videos, photos and tweets from the post-show Q&A, visit TerriPaddock.com.