Modern revival of Gogol's classic play The Gamblers set to tour Scotland
Based on new translation by Selma Dimitrijevic and Mikhail Durnenkov
‘I really want to put on stage a group of women behaving in ways that they are not supposed to: gambling, drinking, dancing, swearing, farting, cheating, shouting, competing and having a lot of fun.’ Although director Selma Dimitrijevic admits she had been coming back to Gogol’s The Gamblers for years (‘I think it is fantastic and underrated’), it wasn’t until deciding to swap the characters’ genders that she found the hook that would interest her enough to ‘spend a year of my life on it’.
The Gamblers has often been ignored for Gogol’s other, more obviously funny plays like The Government Inspector, but in this new translation by Dimitrijevic and Mikhail Durnenkov, it has a dry irony that observes the trickery, and lack of honour, within the gambling gang.
Dimitrijevic is also known as a playwright, and her decision to develop a new version of this classic was by necessity. ‘Some of the translations were dreadful, and many were old-fashioned. They translate it literally, and you lose so much poetry!’ But despite the gender swap, ‘we haven’t made the characters female,’ she adds. Not content to revive a marginalised classic, Dimitrijevic is enjoying the chance to attack dull ideas of feminine decorum.
Dimitrijevic’s company, Greyscale, have previously visited Scotland and impressed through new writing, but she is excited by a fresh direction: after The Gamblers, their next project takes on the four great Chekhov plays with a single ensemble.
Dundee Rep, Wed 22–Sat 25 Oct; Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 5–Sat 8 Nov; Summerhall, Edinburgh, Tue 11–Fri 14 Nov.