New Jerusalem Monastery, seventeenth-century Moscow. Patriarch Nikon has instructed an itinerant French dramatist to stage the New Testament and hasten the Second Coming. But this will be a strange form of theatre. The actors are untrained, illiterate Russian peasants, and nobody is allowed to play Christ. They are persecuted, arrested, displaced, and ultimately replaced by their own children. Yet the rehearsals continue… A stunning reflection on art, history, religion and national identity, Rehearsals is the seminal work in the unique oeuvre of Vladimir Sharov, Russian Booker Prize winner (2014) and author of Before & During (Read Russia award for best translation, 2015).
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