The White Factory is a daring collaboration between author and playwright Dmitry Glukhovsky, one of Russia’s most celebrated contemporary writers and Maxim Didenko, a visionary theatre director who has revolutionized the Russian theatrical landscape – both of whom are political exiles and vehemently outspoken critics of the war against Ukraine.
This powerful and urgent new play is inspired by real events, with a haunting contemporary resonance and will premiere at the Marylebone Theatre this autumn, running from 14 September to 04 November, with press night on 18 September.
Spanning several decades, The White Factory explores the life of Yosef Kaufman, a Holocaust survivor from Lodz, haunted by his wartime experiences as he tries to build a future with his new family in 1960’s Brooklyn. Tormented by the nightmares of his past, Yosef’s attempt to negotiate the weight of his own history becomes a passionate battle for survival and redemption.
Playwright Dmitry Glukhovsky says: “The White Factory was written a few years ago in what now seems to be a foreboding of the abrupt transformation of my home country into a fascist dictatorship. The great evil that has now torn the bubble and is streaming into the outer world as Russia began its barbaric war on Ukraine has been brewing there for the last few years and millions inside the country have been watching it either in indifference or in a naive hope that it would somehow never concern them.
Millions yet chose to conform to the evil’s ever more strangulating rules, to accept its narratives and to believe in its poisonous myths. Watching a resentful and revanchist neoimperialist regime grow and ripen from the inside, real-time, eye-witnessing ominous social changes that were certain to bring about a catastrophe, made me turn to my Jewish roots, recalling and researching another story of conformism and desperate hope for the better: the story of the Lodz ghetto. But as I wrote the play, I could never guess how quickly my fears would become a reality…”
Director Maxim Didenko says: “In my earlier works I have always been interested in exploring totalitarianism; the dark magic it has over people and the horrible price that must inevitably be paid for both succumbing to its charm and surrendering to the fear it sows. Right now, war and propaganda and new draconian laws silence all critical voices in Russia, my home country. The totalitarian regime is returning. People who oppose the war are being labelled as traitors and persecuted.
Right now, hundreds of thousands of Russian intellectuals and artists, but also students and normal people who just don’t want to live under an archaic and repressive regime that started this war on Ukraine, on the West, and on normality, are fleeing Russia and trying to roll under the falling Iron Curtain.
We are among this new wave of political emigrants. The story behind The White Factory seems to be more important, immediate, personal and dramatic than ever. This is why we’re doing it now.”
This heart-wrenching drama of love, endurance, despair and hope follows one man’s journey from the Lodz ghetto of 1940’s Poland to 1960’s America, where the possibility of a new life is tested to the limit by the remnants of his past.
Written by Dmitry Glukhovsky, directed by Maxim Didenko, with Ukrainian creative producer Ekaterina Kashynsteva, The White Factory will play at Marylebone Theatre from 14 September until 4 November 2023.