As part of the final development phase of our adaptation of The Master and Margarita, Anna Cordingley has sketched some roughs for the stage design. These beautiful sketches and a collage of some of the inspiration give a sneak preview of what we have been generalising as the “verticality” of the piece. Regular viewers will have noticed in previous productions a commitment to the horizontal frame, Peer Gynt being the best example of this. The physical limitations and political framing of the body inhabiting a wide flat space has been an ongoing strategy. With this production, the viewers are invited to “look up” and although it is ambiguous whether the frames are more or less restrictive for the performers, it does point to an embracing of the magical and escapist elements of the story.
The punk-band on the roof is a reference to the Russian activist band Pussy Riot, who are in our minds this week as two of the members of that band are currently in prison facing up to seven years for staging a “punk prayer” in an Orthodox cathedral.