Citizens Theatre production of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment
Dominic Hill, Chris Hannan and Nikola Kodjabashia adapt Russian Classic
For artistic director Dominic Hill, starting the Citizens’ autumn season with an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment fits in with his usual policy. Although he is known for his adventurous interpretation of contemporary classic plays, ‘it doesn’t feel like a departure for me,’ he says. ‘I’ve always loved the theatricality of the novel: this is a classic story given contemporary relevance as well as being a new play.’
‘The characters, the dramatic scenes that Dostoevsky creates, the story, the interior monologues of Raskolnikov: it seemed right for the stage,’ Hill explained. Certainly, Crime and Punishment is one of the great Russian novels. It follows the path of a man who wonders whether he might be so important that the usual rules of society don’t apply to him. They do, and the story charts his redemption after a foolish attempt to perform a righteous crime.
The novel is also an in-depth exploration of philosophical ideas, making it an important text for the existentialist thinkers of the 20th century and making a clear statement about personal responsibility. And further to Hill’s suggestion, the tensions between competing ideas have always been every bit as crucial to theatre as the famous characters.
Working from a new adaptation by Chris Hannan, Hill’s version not only includes the drama of Raskolnikov, but features a new live score by Macedonian composer Nikola Kodjabashia as well as traditional Russian psalms performed live on stage.
‘For me, it’s a story about a man’s reintegration into society,’ Hill says. He is determined to demonstrate that the story still maintains its relevance today. ‘It’s about the need for society: no man is an island, and about compassion and valuing life, regardless whose it is. These are timeless important themes and values that go beyond the confines of any religion and are relevant to any person living in any society.’
Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 5–Sat 28 Sep