1 Narodnaya Ulitsa,
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Administrative Director
Mikhail Barsegov
Deputy Director
Alexander Ryazantsev
The St. Petersburg Masterskaya Theatre Repertoire

The Possessed

Russian Delarte based on the novel by F.M.Dostoevsky

Younger Verkhovensky is Pyotr, Petrusha, Petrushka, a traveling buffoon without a tribe, a petty schemer, a wickedly cunning trickster, a deceiver of simpletons, laughing at the results of his tricks. Petrusha is received with honors and pathos, and he is happy to have fun on such a fertile field, to have fun cruelly and sometimes bloodily, destroying everything that in any way denotes his past. Dostoevsky's novel is an all-encompassing evil satire, a mockery of the emptiness of ideological shouting, the falsity of provincial gloss, the multiplication of universal deception, unfounded claims, and the insignificance of thought. In the empty space of the stage, Roman Gabria opens up a balaganza before the audience, turning the terrible into the funny, demons into pagliaccians, monsters into caricatures. The actors are given exaggeratedly comic make-up, parodically extravagant plasticity, deliberate intonations, grotesque mise-en-scene. The theatricalization of the world, reality, existence - this is the way of reading Dostoevsky's text in the performance, an unexpected and daring look at the Russian classic.
"What idea possessed Pyotr Verkhovensky completely and brought his personality to disintegration, turned him into a liar and a sower of lies?" N.Berdyaev

The ideology of the novel is only the milieu in which the terrible and eternal conflict between father and son develops: an infantile father who refuses responsibility for a helpless child, and a monster son who has grown up without love, family, and home. The demons here are not harbingers of revolution, but tools of one man in his struggle with others. In the struggle with everyone. The younger Verkhovensky equally hates his father, who betrayed him, the student Shatov, who replaced his father, his father's entourage, Shatov's entourage, in short, all those who inhabit the world in which he, Pyotr Stepanovich Verkhovensky, found no place. He destroys this world with his will. The question - "How did this happen, how did this particular personality develop, where are the roots of evil?" - Roman Gabria's play asks every spectator. And there is no single possible answer to it.

But before his death to the elder Verkhovensky comes to an epiphany. "Man is much more necessary than his own happiness to know and every moment to believe that there is somewhere already perfect and calm happiness, for everyone and for everything ... If you deprive people of immensely great, they will not live and die in despair," - mumbles dying Stepan Trofimovich. Having lived in darkness all his life, in his last breath he comes to the light - shaming demons, overcoming hatred, opening himself to love.

Premiere – September 21, 2021
Duration – 3 hours and 5 minutes with 2 intermissions
For audiences 18 years and older


  • Director – Roman Gabria
  • Artist – Nikolay Slobodyanik
  • Composer – Vlad Krylov
  • Costume and make-up designer – Roman Gabria
  • Lighting Designer – Maxim Ahrameev
  • Plastic director – Roman Gabria
  • Vocal tutor – Grigory Uglov
  • Assistant directors – Valeria Vasilkova, Alexandra Gayevaya, Ekaterina Zatolokina