Cover art by Nikolai Akimov for the poster for the first production of the play

The Shadow

Evgeny Shvarts, translated by Laurence Senelick
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In an imaginary, fantastical land a scholar arrives seeking to find a way to make as many people as he can happy.

Production Info

Cast: 16 total (5 female, 11 male, doubling possible, many bit parts)
Full Length Comedy (about 130 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Period Costumes
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Press Quotes

“THE SHADOW is a play about society, a political play. It is not so much a political parody as a poetic and philosophical work of art. It is a play about Man in Society, but also about Good and Evil, Love and Death. Like all of Shvarts’ plays it is funny, but it is also eerie. THE SHADOW is a play about any country under the yoke of a powerful dictatorship which works its will through a dehumanized bureaucracy.” —Avril Pyman

“The twofold nature of the satire in THE SHADOW is clear. Corruption in the social order parallels and reflects corruption in the governmental order and both fear anything or anyone that threatens reform, for implicit in reform is the end of privilege. Where such societal and governmental corruption is prevalent, suggests Shvarts, the mere hint of reform is enough to galvanize the perpetrators of corruption into a massive campaign not just to block reform but to eliminate it at its source.” —Harold B Segel

“THE SHADOW does not offer a version of easy, magical, utopian transformation of social reality. Shvarts leaves the satiric paradigms unsubverted, untransformed at the end of the play. The story of the hero’s attainment of magical power contradicts, but does not undermine, various opposed stories about evil forces that continue to reign in society and in the hearts of individual people.” —Duffield White

About the Author


  • Evgeny Shvarts

    Evgeny Lvovich Shvarts (1896 – 1958) was a Soviet playwright and screenwriter whose works include twenty-five plays and the screenplays for three films (in collaboration with Nikolai Erdman). Shavarts's most famous play is THE DRAGON, a satire on totalitarian government.

  • Laurence Senelick

    Laurence Senelick is the Director of Graduate Studies, Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory, at Tufts University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard. His expertise is in Russian theatre and drama, history of popular entertainment, gender and performance, history of directing, classical theory. Prof. Senelick is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, the most recent being, Soviet Theatre: A Documentary History; Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters; and The American Stage: Writing on the American Theatre (Library of America) and A Historical Dictionary of Russian Theatre. Others books include: The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance and The Changing Room: Sex, Drag, and Theatre, as well as over a hundred articles in learned journals. He is a former Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin. Prof. Senelick was named Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. Prof. Senelick has been named a Distinguished Scholar by both the American Society of Theatre Research and the Faculty Research Awards Council of Tufts University. He is the recipient of grants and awards from, among others, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has received the Barnard Hewitt Award of the American Society for Theatre Research for The Chekhov Theatre; the George Freedley Award of the Theatre Library Association for The Age and Stage of George L. Fox and The Changing Room; and the George Jean Nathan Award for best dramatic criticism of 2000. He holds the St. George medal of the Russian Ministry of Culture for services to Russian art and scholarship, and is honorary curator of Russian theatre at the Harvard Theatre Collection. He was also awarded a stipend from the TranScript/Mikhail Prokhorov Fund for Translation from the Russian. In 2008 he won the Graduate Teaching award (doctoral level) of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools and in 2012 the Betty Jean Jones Prize of American Theatre and Drama Society for Distinguished Teaching. He is a widely produced translator of plays from such authors as Chekhov and Feydeau, and director at Tufts of his own translations of The Inspector General, The Bakkhai, and Anything to Declare? He has acted and directed with such organizations as the Poets' Theatre, the Loeb Drama Center, the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Baroque, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the revue The Proposition. He recently devised new courses on Cabaret, Theatre and Visual Studies, and Low Comedy and played Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape at the Balch Arena Theatre. His recipes appear in the Bon Appetit cookbooks.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 7/22/2019
Pages 102
ISBN 9780881458404

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
The Shadow is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC