The Boardwalk Trilogy

Directed by Ramin Gray and Sacha Wares

In June 2012, three Russian-speaking playwrights went to live in Brighton Beach to explore a world made up of emigrants who fled the former Soviet Union and formed their own community on the Brooklyn shorefront. The resulting plays shine startling lights on Brighton Beach, its residents and their attitudes to being both immigrants away from their homeland and new Americans. All from the perspective of those left behind.

Mikhail Durnenkov (Russia), Pavel Pryazhko (Belarus) and Natalia Vorozhbit (Ukraine) were accompanied by Ramin Gray, Artistic Director of Actors Touring Company, Elyse Dodgson, International Director of the Royal Court Theatre, who grew up in Brighton Beach; and poet and translator Sasha Dugdale.

Presented in collaboration with Actor’s Touring Company, UK with Elyse Dodgson, International Director, Royal Court Theatre, London and the Public Theater, New York.


Black Body by Mikhail Durnenkov

Translated by Rory Mullarkey
Directed by Ramin Gray

It’s a normal day in Brighton Beach. Roman works in his hair salon. His father makes a model of the Kremlin from matchsticks. Anna and Mark rehearse for a concert of Silver Age poetry. Then they hear the news: “Russia is gone.” Instead of a country, there's only a black hole.  In this poignant, sci-fi romp, it falls to the Brooklyn shorefront residents of Brighton Beach to preserve Russia – not only its culture and heritage but also its soul.

Emigrants by Pavel Pryazhko

Translated by Sasha Dugdale
Directed by Ramin Gray

Zhenya runs a boarding house in Brighton Beach with some strange foreign visitors: a woman who presents him with a pumpkin pie, a man who Skypes in German, and Kira – who arrived from Russia when she was eight but has no memory of her life before America. They all have problems with keys. From the perspective of his basement room on Neptune Avenue, Pryazhko creates a world of laconic dialogue and surreal imagery in which nothing is what it seems and nothing quite fits.

Place by Natal’ya Vorozhbit

Translated by Sasha Dugdale
Directed by Sacha Wares

Paradise for You, Zhanna’s shop selling remnants of the Soviet Union, is a painful reminder of her past: the gangster husband she left in Kiev, his murder by the KGB. It is also her sole means of supporting her disabled mother and her unmarried son Misha.  Zhanna is desperate for Misha to marry and provide her with grandchildren, not least because she promised Father Yury that she’d abstain from sex until a grandchild arrives.  But when the mysterious Lyonya arrives from Kiev, this promise proves increasingly difficult to keep. A story about one woman and her will to survive.

The development of the Brighton Beach Trilogy has been generously supported by the Genesis Foundation.  These readings are additionally supported by CEC Artslink.