Vol. 11, Issue No. 31/2004

Upcoming from the Stanford Department of Drama

Maria, by Isaac Babel, directed by Carl Weber

Stanford University, Pigott Theater, Memorial Hall
Tickets: $12 general/$10 Stanford faculty & staff/$8 students
Advance reservations; e-mail:, tel. (650) 725-5838

February 19-21 & 26-28 at 8pm
February 29 at 5pm

Maria, one of two plays by Soviet-Jewish writer, journalist and playwright Isaac Babel (1894-1940), is set in 1920, toward the end of the Russian Civil War-time of desperation, violence and corruption. The Soviet takeover and the suffering wrought by war have combined to tear away the boundaries that once separated class from class. The languid aristocracy and intelligentsia of a pre-revolutionary, Chekhovian world find themselves throwing in their lot with Jewish mobsters, crippled smugglers, and secret police . . .
On May 15, 1939, Isaac Babel, world-famous author of Red Cavalry and perhaps the most translated Soviet author of his generation, was arrested in the middle of the night and taken to the headquarters of the Soviet secret police. He was executed on January 27 in the Lubyanka prison. His papers, confiscated during his arrest, have never been recovered. All official record of his existence was erased until he was officially "rehabilitated" in 1954. Maria did not receive its Russian premiere until 1994.

This US premiere is being produced in conjunction with an international conference at Stanford University, "The Enigma of Isaac Babel" (Feb. 29-Mar. 2), organized by Gregory Freidin (Slavic), Gabriella Safran (Slavic and Jewish Studies), and Steven Zipperstein (History and Jewish Studies), and the exhibition on display at the Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion (Jan. 20--Mar. 2, 2004),  "Isaac Babel: A Writer's Life (1894-1940)," designed and organized by Gregory Freidin in collaboration with Elif Batuman and Amelia Glaser (Department of Comparative Literature), and Joshua Walker (Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures), with assistance from Elena Danielson, Director of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Cissie Hill, Linda Bernard, Lora Soroka, and other staff members of the Hoover Institution Library and Archives.

Inquiries about the Babel Conference and Workshop:

Vol. 11, Issue No. 31/2004

The Summit Times

Copyright 2004 by Andrzej M. Salski