Cast as: Varvara
These great writers have given us admirable pictures of the people’s life as it appeared to them at the angle of the educated Westernised Russian mind; but here in “The Storm” is the atmosphere of the little Russian town, with its primitive inhabitants, merchants, and workpeople, an atmosphere untouched, unadulterated by the ideas of any outside European influence. It is the Russia of Peter the Great and Catherine’s time, the Russian patriarchal family life that has existed for hundreds of years through all the towns and villages of Great Russia, that lingers indeed to-day in out-of-the-way corners of the Empire, though now invaded and much broken up by modern influences. It is, in fact, the very Muscovite life that so puzzled our forefathers, and that no doubt will seem strange to many English readers. But the special triumph of “The Storm” is that although it is a realistic picture of old-fashioned Russian patriarchal life, it is one of the deepest and simplest psychological analyses of the Russian soul ever made. It is a very deep though a very narrow analysis. Katerina, the heroine, to the English will seem weak, and crushed through her weakness; but to a Russian she typifies revolt, freedom, a refusal to be bound by the cruelty of life. And her attitude, despairing though it seems to us, is indeed the revolt of the spirit in a land where Tolstoi’s doctrine of non-resistance is the logical outcome of centuries of serfdom in a people’s history. A Play in Four Acts.