Historical Play: Soviet Union 1930s - 1953   By E. Thomalen

Cast: 14 M, 0 F, Doubling Required

This play opens and closes with scenes from the gulag where two prisoners discuss the relation of leaders to followers. The central story of the play is about the rise and unexpected fall of Lavrenti P. Beria, the Soviet Minister of the Interior and State Security as well as master of the gulag system. Beria was a Georgian, like Stalin, and ingratiated himself with Stalin. Beria played a prominent role in the purges of the 1930s, was a member of the Soviet State Defense Committee during WW II and was made Marshal of the Soviet Union for his organization of wartime production with the extensive use of gulag labor. He chaired the successful Soviet Special Committee on the Atomic Bomb after the war. When Stalin died Beria became First Deputy Chairman (number two) and nominated Georgy Malenkov to be Chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers. Beria also took back control of the Ministry of the Interior and controlled the dreaded security police. Within three months, and against all odds, Nikita Khrushchev was able to bring about Beria's precipitous fall. This is a story that will keep an audience on the edge of their seats until the final curtain.