Robert Bolt is a playwright infused with confidence and focused purpose. State of Revolution is preceded by author’s characterist...more Men of past seasons
Robert Bolt is a playwright infused with confidence and focused purpose. State of Revolution is preceded by author’s characteristic lengthy introduction, which is actually more accessible than the play’s text. He is interested in the details of early 20th century Russian leadership, revolution, and its seminal figures like Trotsky, Stalin, and Lenin, all of whom figure prominently in the play.
There is a recurring theme of the unpredictability inherent to historical circumstance. Events choose an available personage able to rise to the occasion; a powerful and gifted figure will not ascend in the absence of the proper circumstances. The play is mostly dialectical and a combination of soliloquy and Joseph Heller-like dark comedy-of-words, in which both the truth and farce of the Socialist revolution in Russia is exposed.
Those learned in Russian history and World War-era eastern politics may find this two-act work more engaging than I did. It consists primarily of historical avatars talking at you, often ironically, telling but not showing. There is less drama, and more theorizing. It does not have the timeless quality of A Man for All Seasons, which can transcend any era and be appreciated by almost anyone of any culture.(less)