War and Peace

Adapted from the novel by Leo Tolstoy by Alfred Neumann, Erwin Piscator and Guntram Prüfer.
English adaptation by Robert David MacDonald

directed by Kenneth Spencer

Performed at the

Nuffield Theatre


Tuesday 20th January to Saturday 23rd January 1971

The Southampton Evening Echo wrote the following article as pre-publicity for the show.

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)

The Cast
The Narrator Peter Neve
Pierre Ken Hann
Natasha Georgina Bennett
Andrei Graham Buchanan
Countess Rostova Jean Rowe
Nicolai Rostov Ray Green
Prince Bolkonski Kenneth Spencer
Alpatich John Lelliott
Karatayev Peter Syvret
Dr. Kusmich Peter White
Anatol Kuragin John Hamon
Dolokhov John Carrington
Lisa Frances Dudley
Maria Joy Steele
Tsar Alexander I John Lewis
Kutusov 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
Lighting Colin Jurd, Ivan White
Sound Geoff Grandy
Assisted by Rodney Stratford
Set Design Kenneth Spencer
Properties Caroline Reeves
Slide Presentation Serena Brown
Wardrobe Mistress Kay Hann
Costume Hire Bristol Old Vic & Morris Angel
Musical Advisor Malcolm Willcock


click on a photo to enlarge it

Graham Buchanan and Georgina Bennett

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Established 1968

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