The performance is based on the novel “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov (1891–1940) written in 1929–40, though the text uncorrupted by censorship was first published as late as 1967 in Paris.
The stylistics of the performance is reminiscent of the “dream in a dream” principle: a mystery of life and death, recognition and oblivion, love and despair is all taking place in the mind of the protagonist Ivan Bezdomny who has found himself at a mental institution. In a certain sense this character embodies Bulgakov himself or, to be more exact, a symbolic figure of the Writer who together with his work, or for the sake of his work and his truth, like Christ, has to experience all kinds of spiritual metamorphoses ranging from humiliation, defilement and madness to saintliness. A parallel theme of self-sacrificing love (Margarita’s deal with Satan), the destructive activity of Woland (the evil spirit) and his retinue revealing the imperfection of the human nature – a polyphonic garland of these themes is concentrated on the main idea of the performance: is creative work really a spiritual value for the sake of which a whole life can be sacrificed? Manuscripts don’t burn, but their author has to burn in this fire to earn immortality for his work.
Oskaras Koršunovas: In the finale, when the lights go down, the “thunder” of rustling paper sheets should be heard. The audience did not hear it, as a burst of thunderous applause filled the hall. The actors had more than ten curtain calls. I experienced this as a greatest miracle in my entire artistic career, as a meeting of the material particularly dear to me, and the most important festival. I’m very happy.