Poised at the beginning of Stalin’s Great Terror, Burnt By The Sun shows a brutal future encroaching on the last days of a fading world.
Colonel Kotov, decorated hero of the Russian Revolution, is spending an idyllic summer in the country with his beloved young wife and family. But on one glorious sunny morning in 1936, his wife’s former lover returns from a long and unexplained absence. Amid a tangle of sexual jealousy, retribution and remorseless political backstabbing, Kotov feels the full, horrifying reach of Stalin’s rule.
When Burnt By The Sun was released as a film in 1994, it won much acclaim and a number of awards, including the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Nikita Mikhalkov and Rustam Ibragimbekov’s film has been used as the basis for this National Theatre production by Peter Flannery, writer of both the play and highly-acclaimed television adaptation of Our Friends In The North. Flannery was resident playwright with the Royal Shakespeare Company during the late 70s and early 80s, when he wrote pieces including Savage Amusement and Awful Knawful. More recently he adapted George Gently for the BBC and his drama about the English Civil War, The Devil’s Whore is part of the Channel 4 autumn 208 schedule.
Burnt By The Sun sees Rory Kinnear return to the National Theatre stage following his recent successes in The Revenger’s Tragedy, Philistines, Southwark Fair and The Man Of Mode, for which he won the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role.
Burnt By The Sun also stars Ciaran Hinds, whose previous credits at the South Bank venue include Closer and Machinale. Hinds’s films include In Bruges, There Will Be Blood, Hallam Foe, Calendar Girls and The Road To Perdition.
Hinds and Kinnear are joined in the cast of Burnt By The Sun by National Theatre regulars Michelle Dockery, Stephanie Jacob and Pamela Merrick.