Flight, by Bulgakov
ad. Don Taylor

BBC Radio 3: Sunday Play

Broadcast: Sunday 22nd February 1998 @ 7:30 p.m.

In 1920, the Russian Civil War is ending with the triumph of the Bolsheviks. For the defeated White officers and the refugees who have gathered around them in the Crimea, the only escape is across the sea to Constantinople, Paris, and a life of exile - unless they decide to return to Russia.

"Flight" incensed the critics because Bulgakov treated some of the Civil War's Whites as suffering, doomed human beings rather than stock images of "the class enemy". This tragicomedy is dominated by the nightmare figure of General Khludov, both executioner and victim, disintegrating as his world disintegrates. Charnota, on the other hand, is the hyperbolic image of a man hellbent for destruction, descending from White Major General to penniless gambler in Constantinople's cockroach races.

Adapted for radio by Don Taylor from a translation by Michael Glenny of Mikhail Bulgakov's play, "Flight", written 1926-1928, but not produced for the stage until 1957, 17 years after the playwright's death.

With Kenneth Haigh [General Roman Khludov, White Chief of Staff], Tom Georgeson [Major-General Grigory (Grisha) Charnota of the White Army], Joanne Pearce [Serafima Korzukhin, a Young Woman from St. Petersburg], Jamie Glover [Sergei Golubkov, a University Teacher from St. Petersburg], Charles Kay [Paramon Korzukhin, Deputy Minister of Trade and Errant Husband of Serafima], Adjoa Andoh [Lyuska, a Nurse and Charnota's Lover], Peter Jeffrey [Commander-in-Chief of the White Army / The Abbot], Peter Woodward [De Brisard, Commander of the White Hussar Regiment / Tikhii, Chief of White Counter-Intelligence], Jerome Willis [Archbishop Athanasius / Commandant Gurin], Anthony Jackson [Comrade Commander Bayev, a Red Cavalry Officer / Krapilin, Charnota's Orderly / Skunsky, White Counter-Intelligence Officer / Antoine Grishchenko, Paramon's Servant], John Baddeley [Paisios / The Stationmaster / Yanko Yankovich, Cockroach King of Constantinople / The Amorous Greek], John Dryden Taylor [Captain Golovan, Aide to Khludov / A Trooper / A Cossack], Rachel Atkins [Maria Konstantinovna / The Prostitute], and Michael N. Harbour [Mikhail Bulgakov, the Narrator].

The musical director was Mark Etherington.

Incidental music was taken from the works of Alexander Mosolov and Nikolai Myaskovsky.

Directed by Don Taylor.

105 min.


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