Adapted from the novel by Leo Tolstoy by Alfred Neumann, Erwin Piscator and Guntram Prüfer

English adaptation by Robert David MacDonald


The Maskers presented Tolstoy's War and Peace at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton from Tuesday 20th January to Saturday 24th January 1971


The Southampton Evening Echo wrote the following article as pre-publicity for the show. Unfortunately I have been unable to find a post-show critique of the production.


Altering Tolstoy's Meaning

Only a few weeks after the massive Russian film of "War and Peace" visited Southampton, the German Edward Piscator adaptation for the stage comes to the Nuffield Theatre. Perhaps Tolstoy's vast novel doesn't seem a feasible proposition for the theatre, but Piscator, with Guntram Prufer and Alfred Neumann, has distilled the novel to the bare minimum using "epic" theatre. Piscator tried this style two or three years before Brecht, and with it he overcomes the obvious problems. He has made alterations in the basic story and concentrates on the lives of Pierre Bezuhov, Andrei Bolkonsky and Natasha Rostov. But his main alteration is in the basic meaning of Tolstoy's work. Whereas Tolstoy believed that war and disaster are an inevitable part of history which people must accept, Piscator changes the emphasis to the practical and revolutionary side. Tolstoy's belief was valid for his age but not ours. As Pierre says in the play: "Perhaps future generations will recognise that their destiny lies in their own hands, and not in the lottery of history and sweep its curse from their lives."


Next week's production is by The Maskers and direction is by Kenneth Spencer who directed "An Italian Straw Hat" last July at the Nuffield Theatre. His major problem with this production has been that David Bartlett, who was going to play Pierre, has had to go into hospital -- leaving Ken Hann with about ten days to learn the part. "But he did audition for the part and is coping very well," said Kenneth Spencer. Originally Ken Hann was due to play Anatol Kuragin. Graham Buchanan is Andrei and Georgina Bennett is Natasha. Two newcomers to the Maskers are Peter Neve (narrator) and David Pike (Napolean)


Characters :


The Narrator

Peter Neve


Ken Hann


Georgina Bennett


Graham Buchanan

Countess Rostova

Jean Rowe

Nicolai Rostov

Ray Green

Prince Bolkonski

Kenneth Spencer


John Lelliott


Peter Syvret

Dr. Kusmich

Peter White

Anatol Kuragin

John Hamon


John Carrington


Frances Dudley


Joy Steele

Tsar Alexander I

John Lewis


Michael Shailer

Napoleon Bonaparte

David Pike

Officers, Soldiers, Orderlies, Peasants

John Greenhouse, David Dudley, Terry Bennett, Keith Hooper


For The Maskers


Directed by

Kenneth Spencer

Technical Director

Ron Tillyer

Stage Manager

Tony Miles

Assistant Stage Managers

Ron Avery, Neil Pickering, Bob Hart

Lighting designed by 

Roger Lockett, Derek Jones


Colin Jurd, Ivan White


Geoff Grandy

Assisted by

Rodney Stratford

Set Design

Kenneth Spencer


Caroline Reeves

Slide Presentation

Serena Brown

Wardrobe Mistress

Kay Hann

Costume Hire

Bristol Old Vic & Morris Angel

Musical Advisor

Malcolm Willcock