Writers: Tony Kushner


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Dark Comedy, Drama
Period, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
Moscow, March 1985, Talmenka, Siberia, 1992
Cast Size
Ideal for
Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes young adult, adult, mature adult, elderly, child, early teen characters


Tony Kushner’s 1994 play Slavs! paints a darkly comical picture of the USSR as it crumbles in the mid-1980s through its later rebirth as a collection of independent states. Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov, the world’s oldest living Bolshevik, addresses the Hall of the Soviets in 1985 on the dangers of entering a new era without first devising a system of order, or “great theory”, to guide the nation through the ensuing chaos. Along with his elderly comrades, they discuss how to rebuild life within a system, which once based on ideals, has now collapsed. The play then moves to focus on the victims of this collapse, led by a young, alcoholic lesbian, Katherina, and her lover Bonfila, a pediatrician exiled to Siberia after their relationship is discovered. There, Bonfila hopelessly struggles to treat the huge numbers of children made mute and zombie-like by the poisoning from nuclear waste. Metaphysical, personal, and political, Kushner’s follow up to Angels in America, Slavs! remains faithful to its subtitle: "Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness".

Lead Characters

Slavs! guide sections