“Az, Bookie, Veidy, or Russian for the Princess” is a story of young Catherine the Great, the Russian empress who, through her marriage to the heir to the Russian throne, rose from being the daughter of a ruler of a small German principality to an autocrat in one of the world’s great empires. The play presented a series of funny Russian lessons given to young Catherine. The presentation of each letter was followed by court intrigues, love affairs, politics, dance, music and even acrobatics.
Note from Julia Nemirovskaya, the play’s writer and director:
“Scholars still argue over what Catherine was. Many think she was genuinely great; some believe she was mean and calculating. The 15-year old girl’s strong will and intelligence won respect and trust of many at the Russian court and army. Catherine’s many admirers later staged a coup to place her on the Russian throne. During the coup Catherine’s husband, Peter III, was murdered. Some scholars view him as a big bad kid or even a half-wit Germanophile, and yet others believe that he was viliﬁed by historians who underestimated his intellect. We suggested our own interpretation of the events leading to Catherine’s victory based on memoirs, letters, poems, and historical accounts. Megan Dixon and Sergei Larionov were fantastic Catherine and Peter!”