Describe the Night

By Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Blanka Zizka
January 28, 2020February 16, 2020

When we say that something is true, it becomes true. When we say that something is false, it becomes false.  This 2018 Obie Award Winner explores the blurred lines between lies, history and conspiracy theories, as it tracks back and forth across 90 years of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. Rajiv Joseph’s (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) sharp-witted dialogue and historical juxtapositions bring to mind Tom Stoppard’s and Tony Kushner’s best works.


An epic fantasy that weaves historical figures into imagined happenings of the past, featuring a Putin-esque KGB officer, the play deftly incorporates the tension and intrigue of a spy thriller with a touching dive into the realm of magical realism. Another featured character, writer Issac Babel, executed by Stalin after his work was deemed anti-Soviet, was a profound influence on Zizka, who herself defected from her native Czechoslovakia to escape persecution by the Soviet government. She is inspired by the way Describe the Night “touches upon the ambivalent and mysterious nature of art. It is hard to overstate how funny, smart and powerfully engaging it is.”

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Production Team

Rajiv Joseph • playwright
Blanka Zizka • director