Gogol’s Diary of a Madman performed by Ilia Volok

Gogol’s Diary of a Madman performed by Ilia Volok


Date(s) - 22/09/2019
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Brunel Museum

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​​“Diary of a Madman” centers on the life of Poprishchin, a low-ranking civil servant who yearns to be noticed by a beautiful woman, the daughter of a senior official, with whom he has fallen in love. ​His diary records his gradual, mesmeric slide into insanity. The story portrays the average man’s satirical quest for individuality
in a seemingly indifferent, urban city.

The religious and moral character of Russian literature begins with Gogol: “The tragedy of Gogol lay in the fact that he could never see and depict the human, the image of God in man, and this fact was a torment to him.”  Nikolai Berdyaev

Tickets from £13 available here

***Winner of LA Weekly Theatre Award “Best Solo Performance of the year”***

“An absolute must-see!” Examiner.com

“Fevered and fascinating one-man turn… Remarkable!” “Go!” LA Weekly

“…Diary of a Madman is a bold and unique actor’s showcase and a performance well worth attending…”

“With demonic glint and flamboyant gestures, Volok certainly lives up to the title…” Phillip Brandes, Los Angeles Times

“A fevered and fascinating one-man turn…Remarkable!” -LA Weekly

“The tour de force performance…Bold and unique” -LA Stage Happenings

“Ilia Volok is amazing to watch; he is alternately graceful and awkward, balletic and clanky, whimsical and fearful… Ilia Volok and director Eugene Lazarev have brought blood, sweat and tears to this classic short story.” – L.A. Stage Times.

“Fervent and heart-breaking ingenuity of Ilia Volok’s performance” – Local Theatre NY.

“Performed with consummate skill and precision by Ilia Volok … a tightrope act that comes off beautifully” – Drama Queen Reviews.

Ilia Volok ( Poprishin)

Ilia was born in Kiev  in 1964.
His life took an unexpected turn when after being a professional athlete (3rd place at the world championship in rowing with the Soviet Union team in Italy), and on his way to become a rowing coach, he left his native Kiev (Ukraine) to audition for one of the most prestigious acting colleges-the famous Moscow Art Theatre School. To the complete surprise of his friends and relatives, he passed a rigorous competition (200 hundred contestants per one spot) and was accepted to study under the direction of one of the top stars of Russian theatre and cinema – Alexander Kalyagin.

Upon graduation he was invited to work in several top theatre companies the Moscow Art Theatre being one of them. But once again he changed the direction of his life, and with $300.00 in his pocket, without any knowledge of English, he came to America to pursue his dream of being a working Hollywood actor. The first jobs that came along had little to do with acting.

He was cutting sandwiches and flipping chicken at a restaurant, and working at a cemetery as a funeral service attendant. But finally he got his acting break in the movie Hail Ceaser, playing opposite Samuel Jackson, Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Anthony Hall.

To this date, Ilia has appeared in over 150 films and television shows.

Ilia often performs on stage. He is a graduate of Moscow Art Theatre School and Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio. lia is a Faculty of the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Los Angeles.

Yevgeni Lazarev, director

Yevgeni Nikolayevich (Russian: Евге́ний Никола́евич Ла́зарев) 31 March 1937 – 18 November 2016, also credited as Eugene Lazarev, was a Russian-born American actor. He was born in Minsk.

He graduated from the Moscow Art Theatre School-Studio, and played in the Riga Russian Drama Theatre and Mayakovsky Theatre.

In the 1990s, he emigrated to the US, and later appeared in a number of Hollywood films, including The Saint, The Sum of All Fears, Lord of War, and Iron Man 2 (as Anton Vanko), as well as in TV series such as The West Wing (Episode: The Lame Duck Congress), Alias, and 24.

He was a professor at the Moscow Art Theatre Studio School and the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts, and was awarded the title of People’s Artist of Russia. From 2003 to 2016, he had been teaching at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting of Los Angeles and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He died on November 18, 2016 at the age of 79.

Nikolai Gogol

Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol (March 31, 1809 – March 4, 1852) was a Ukrainian-born Russian writer. Although many of his works were influenced by his Ukrainian heritage and upbringing, he wrote in the Russian language and his works are among the most beloved in the tradition of Russian literature.

Gogol is seen by most critics as the first Russian realist. His biting satire, comic realism, and descriptions of Russian provincials and petty bureaucrats influenced later Russian masters Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, and especially Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Many of Gogol’s witty sayings have since become Russian maxims.

Despite his literary success, Gogol appears to have been ambivalent about his own work. Read by critics as a social reformer, the real aim of his literary output, as well as of his own personal life, appears to have been spiritual renewal. Raised by his mother as a Christian, Gogol increasingly found his work as a writer in conflict with his spiritual aims. Unable to reconcile the two, he burned his final manuscript shortly before his death in 1852.


Gogol's Diary of a Madman performed by Ilia Volok