Welcome to this second version of the website detailing the work of John Freedman, an American writer, translator, critic and scholar of Russian theater who has lived and worked in Moscow since 1988. The first one crashed and burned. This one reflects the remains pulled from the ashes, sometimes, but not always, tweaked and improved. Here you can find information about my - for I am John Freedman - books, plays, translations, articles and other writings; information about international theater and drama projects in which I have been, involved. But just as important are the posts about the work of others who are translating and writing about Russian drama and theater. This is meant to be an open space. Feel free to contact me (Contact page) if you know of sources I do not link to here.

In another space I maintain a labor of love, a blog about Russian culture as it is revealed in landmarks, architecture and street art. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.

Photo by Olympia Orlova


God's Gift, my translation and adaptation of a Christmas poem for children by Fyodor Dostoevsky, published in a limited, non-commercial run by the Kyoto Church in Japan, 2017.

Drillalians, an opera libretto by Boris Yukhananov, published in a dual-language book along with DVDs and CDs of the entire, five-day opera series. Stanislavsky Electrotheatre Foundation, 2016.  

Real and Phantom Pains: An Anthology of New Russian Drama, compiled and edited by John Freedman. New Academia Publishers, 2014. Supported by a generous grant from the Prokhorov Foundation. May be ordered through amazon.com or directly from the publisher New Academia Publishing. Ebooks are available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. It is also available through ibookstore, Kobo, Baker and Taylor, Google, Ingram and others.

Provoking Theater: Kama Ginkas Directs, co-authored with Ginkas. Smith and Kraus. 2003.  Go here to order. Published in Romanian as Teatrul Provocator: Kama Ginkas regizeaza, Editura Unitext, 2008. Translated by Andrei Luca Popescu and Marian Popescu.

Moscow Performances II: The 1996-1997 Season. Harwood Academic Publishers, 1998. (Now distributed by Routledge.) Go here to order

Moscow Performances: The New Russian Theater 1991-1996. Harwood Academic Publishers, 1997. (Now distributed by Routledge.) Go here to order.

Silence's Roar: The Life and Drama of Nikolai Erdman. Mosaic Press, 1992. 

The Simpleton by Sergei Kokovkin. A play translated, edited and introduced by John Freedman. Harwood Academic Publishers, 1998. (Now distributed by Routledge.) Order here.

Two Plays by Olga Mukhina: Tanya-Tanya and YoU. Translated, edited and introduced by John Freedman. Harwood Academic Publishers, 1998. (Now distributed by Routledge.) Order here

Two Plays from the New Russia. Bald/Brunet by Daniil Gink and Nijinsky by Alexei Burykin. Translated, edited and introduced by John Freedman. Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995. (Now distributed by Routledge.) Order here

A Meeting About Laughter: Sketches, Interludes and Theatrical Parodies by Nikolai Erdman, Vladimir Mass and Others. Translated, edited and introduced by John Freedman. Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995. (Now distributed by Routledge.) Order here

The Major Plays of Nikolai Erdman. Translated, edited and introduced by John Freedman. Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995. (Now distributed by Routledge.)  Order here.





Around the Globe Chain Play, one scene in an experimental piece composed by 16 authors working consecutively over a period that ran from Feb. 23 to March 19, 2013. The full list of playwrights included Dominique Morisseau (US), Bekah Brunstetter (US), Van Badham (Australia), Mixkaela Villalon (Philippines), Janice Poon (Hong Kong), Abdelrahem Alawji (Lebanon), Jeton Neziraj (Kosovo),  John Freedman (Russia), Ulrike Syha (Germany),  Enver Husicic (Netherlands), Zainabu Jallo (Nigeria), Beatriz Cabur (Spain), Sarah Grochala (England), Sigtryggur Magnason (Iceland), Caridad Svich (US). 

Dancing, Not Dead. Translated into Russian by Alexei Burykin. Translated into Romanian by Bogdan Budes. Winner of The Internationalists' Global Playwright Contest, June 2011.

The Firebird, performance script w/ Double Edge Theatre ensemble and Jennifer Johnson. 2010.

Five Funny Tales from the Heart of Buenos Aires, a ten-minute monologue. 2013.

Scorched Earth, a full-length play. 2018. Semi-finalist in the New Works Festival, Garry Marshall Theater, March 2018.

Texts for the Devil in the new version (2018) of Requiem for Anna Politkovskaya, music and libretto by Alexander Bakshi, puppets and direction by Amy Trompetter.


Nikolai Erdman: A Shot of Suicide, documentary w/ Viktor Korkiya (Russian ORT, aired Sept. 16, 2004).

Provoking Theatre: The Playwright and Director Center and American Students at the Moscow Art Theater. Documentary film produced by FilmPROM (Moscow), originally aired on Russia Today TV, 2007.

Provoking Theatre: Anton Chekhov. Documentary film produced by FilmPROM (Moscow), originally aired Russia Today TV, 2007.


Allegro moderato, screenplay for a Russian-language feature film w/ Yevgeny Lungin (unpublished).


Batalov, Talgat and Yekaterina Bondarenko

  • Uzbek.

Bogaev, Oleg

  • The Russian National Postal Service. 

Bugadze, Lasha

  • Political Play. Translated from the Georgian with Maya Mamaladze.

  • Shocked Tatyana. A miniature. Translated from the Georgian with Maya Mamaladze.

  • The Tragedy of Aunt Tsitso. A miniature. Translated from the Georgian with Maya Mamaladze.

Bulgakov, Mikhail

  • Theatrical Novel. (Subtitles for the Fomenko Workshop Theater.) 

  • The Master and Margarita (Subtitles for the Fomenko Workshop Theateer.)

Burykin, Alexei

Chekhov, Anton

  • The Cherry Orchard. In progress.

  • Uncle Vanya.

Chichkanova, Alexandra

Durnenkov, Mikhail

Durnenkov, Vyacheslav

Edlis, Yuliu

  • Where is Abel Thy Brother? 

Erdman, Nikolai

  • The Destruction of Europe on Holy Square (three-act sketch).Available here

  • The Hypnotist (two play fragments). Available here

  • Interludes for Lev Gurych Sinichkin, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Pugachyov, Princess Turandot [w/ Vladimir Mass] and Hamlet [w/ Vladimir Mass]). Available here.

  • A Meeting About Laughter (one-act sketch w/ Vladimir Mass). Available here.

  • Moscow From a Point of View (two scenes). Available here

  • New People, New Songs (parody w/ Vladimir Mass). Available here

  • On Laughter (sketch w/ Yakov Ziskind). Available here

  • Private Schulz (sketch w/ Mikhail Volpin). Available here.

  • The Qualification Exams (sketch). Available here

  • The Suicide (published version, 1995). Available here

  • The Suicide (new version, 2009). 

  • Three Circus SketchesAvailable here.

  • Two Music Hall numbers (sketches for emcee w/ Vladimir Mass). Available here.

  • The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of the Danes (parody in one scene w/ Vladimir Mass). Available here.

  • The WarrantAvailable here

  • The Work Whistle, or the Stomach Incision (parody in one scene w/ Vladimir Mass). Available here.

Gink, Daniil

  • Bald/Brunet. Available here

  • K.I. from 'Crime' (after scenes from Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment.) Available here (Issue No. 23).


Ginkas, Kama

  • The Black Monk (after Anton Chekhov.)

  • A Ridiculous Poem (after Fyodor Dostoevsky's 'The Grand Inquisitor' from The Brothers Karamazov).

  • Rothschild's Fiddle (after Anton Chekhov). Available here (Issue No. 25).

  • The Theater of Nikita: Ward No. 6 (after Anton Chekhov).


Gladilin, Pyotr

  • The Moth.

  • Someone Else.

Kazachkov, Yevgeny

  • Winter War

Kirov, Semyon

  • Ilya's Day. Russian winner in the New Baltic Drama 2011 competition featuring works from Finland, Estonia, Sweden and Russia. Presented at the Turku City Theater in November 2011 as part of the Turku 2011 Cultural Capital program.

Klavdiev, Yury


  • The Cabaret Buchenwald. In progress.

Kokovkin, Sergei

Korkiya, Viktor

Kourliandskaya, Nastya.

  • Eurydice. A libretto for opera. In progress.

Kurochkin, Maksym

  • Almost Aivazov (a dramaticule).

  • A Bad Councilor One Winter Evening Drinks and Waits for Oleinikova (A dramaticule). 

  • Circuit Breaker (a dramaticule).

  • Common Values (a dramaticule).

  • Dulcey and Roxy at City Hall.

  • The Hanged Man (a dramaticule).

  • KitchenAvailable here. Three scenes are published in the internet magazine Asymptote. 

  • The Market From Above (a dramaticule).

  • The Mirror of Carlos Santos.

  • Religion as Grounds for Pragmatism, or, The Pocket Mahatma (a dramaticule).

  • Repress and ExciteAvailable here (Issue No. 34).

  • The Schooling of Bento BonchevAvailable here.

Metelkov, Andrei

  • Powder Keg. An entry in the Prix Europa broadcasting festival, Berlin, Oct. 22 to 29, 2011.


Minchyonok, Dmitry

  • Mozart's Last MistakeAvailable here (Plays International, Spring 2007, Vol. 22, Nos. 5 & 6).

Mukhina, Olga

Osipov, Maxim

  • Scapegoats. An entry in the Prix Europa broadcasting festival, Berlin, Oct. 19-26, 2013. Available here

Ostrovsky, Alexander

  • The Wise Fool (Enough Simplicity in Every Wise Man). In progress.

  • Without a Dowry. (Subtitles for the Fomenko Workshop Theater.)

Pryazhko, Pavel

Pulinovich, Yaroslava


Pushkin, Alexander.

  • Egyptian Nights. (Subtitles for the Fomenko Workshop Theater).

Ugarov, Mikhail. 

  • Masquerade, Masquerade. 

Vampilov, Alexander

  • The Elder Son.

Yakimov, Igor. 

  • North Wind. An entry in the Italy Prize international radio play competition, September 2012 in Turin.

Yukhananov, Boris

  • Drillalians. A libretto for an experimental romance-opera.

  • Octavia. Trepanation. A libretto based on texts by Seneca and Lev Trotsky.

Zhanaidarov, Olzhas

  • The Store.


Adam Rapp. 

  • Nocturne, translated by John Freedman, adapted by Maksym Kurochkin, 2011.



The Admirer, a film by Vitaly Melnikov. Lenfilm and KinoMelnitsa Productions (Russia), 2012.

The Blue Bird, a film by Boris Yukhananov. Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in association with Cine Fantom (Russia), 2016. 

The Constant Principle, a film by Boris Yukhananov. Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in association with Cine Fantom (Russia), 2016. 


Drillalians, a film by Boris Yukhananov. Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in association with Cine Fantom (Russia), 2016.  

Gloss, a film by Andrei Konchalovsky. Andrei Konchalovsky Productions (Russia) and Canal+ (France), 2007.


The Golden Ass, a film by Boris Yukhananov. Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in association with Cine Fantom (Russia), 2018, in progress.  

Golem, a film by Alexander Belousov, based on Boris Yukhananov's theater production Golem: LaboraTORIAH. 2017.

Nazidanie: A Cautionary Tale, a documentary film by Boris Yukhananov about the 2006 FIFA World Cup. 2017.

Orphic Games, a film by Boris Yukhananov. Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in association with Cine Fantom (Russia), 2018/9, in progress.  

Oxygen, a film by Ivan Vyrypaev. Kislorod Productions (Russia), 2008.


The Suicide, a film of Sergei Zhenovach's production at Moscow's Studio of Theatrical Art, produced for viewing in worldwide cinemas by Stage Russia. Screenings began October 2017. 

Whisper: The Silver Age, an auteur documentary film by Konstantin Olonovsky. Independent production (Russia). 2014-15.



Supervisor of English for the Fomenko Workshop Theater's program of subtitles provided in numerous languages on electronic tablets for non-Russian speakers. Edited texts include: Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (trans. by Everett Dickson), Tolstoy's Family Happiness (trans. by Regina Kazakova) Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters (trans. by Tatyana Oskolkova), Alexander Ostrovsky's Wolves and Sheep. My own translations (or compilations, if back-translations from Russian into English) for the project are: Ostrovsky's Without a Dowry, Mikhail Bulgakov's A Theatrical Novel and The Master and Margarita, Ivan Turgenev's Spring Freshets (as A Russian on a Rendezvous), George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House, Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros, Vladimir Nabokov's The Gift, Olga Mukhina's Olympia, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and King Lear, Ivan Bunin's Last Meetings, Egyptian Nights after Alexander Pushkin. 2013 to present.

Supervisor of English for the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre, including supertitles, website, booklets, promotional materials, films, etc. Supervision of supertitles for Heiner Goebbels' Max Black, or, 62 Ways of Supporting the Head with a Hand; Boris Yukhananov's The Constant Principle, based on Calderon's The Constant Prince (translated by Rick Davis) and Alexander Pushkin's Feast in a Time of Plague (translated by Matvei Yankelevich). I have done full translations of Boris Yukhananov's compilation of Maurice Maeterlinck's The Blue Bird, which includes excerpts of Pushkin's Eugene OneginThe Stone Guest, and long interpolations of actors' memoirs; Boris Yukhananov's Drillalians, a five-day opera libretto; Octavia. Trepanation, an opera libretto based on the writings of Seneca and Lev Trotsky; Prose, an opera libretto by Vladimir Rannev based on stories by Anton Chekhov and Yury Mamleev; The Golden Ass. The Open-Circuited Workspace, after Apuleius; Idiotology, based in part on Fyodor Dostoevsky's The IdiotGalileo. Opera for Violin and Scientist; The Shining, based on the songs of Yegor Letov and Yanka Dyagileva; Orphic Games. Punk-macrame, after Jean Anouilh and Jean Genet. 2015 to present.

Rothschild's Fiddle, by Kama Ginkas after Anton Chekhov, for the world premiere run at Yale Repertory Theatre, 2004.  

The Ideal Husbandby Konstantin Bogomolov, based on writings by Oscar Wilde, Anton Chekhov, Goethe and others, Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre, 2015.

The Karamazovs, by Konstantin Bogomolov after Fyodor Dostoevsky, Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre, 2019. 


Icaria, a screenplay by Sergei Kaluzhanov and Javor Gardev. Third Rome Studio (Moscow), 2016. (In production.)

Bogatyryova, Irina. Short story, "The Exit," for Portal 9, a literary journal (2013). The text is available online here

Erdman, Nikolai. "The Suicide at the Vakhtangov Theater," an historical document. Available here.

Korkiya, Viktor. "The Posthumous Letters of Napoleon Bonaparte to Count Lev Tolstoy," fiction. Available here

Korolyov, Anatoly. "Stop - Model," a short story.

Russian Folk Tale "The Old Crone,"  Threepenny Review (No. 17, 1984).Available here

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