The Wood Demon


Première 1996, Amsterdam

Alexander Serebryakov, a pensioned professor, returns to the estate of the family of his first wife, together with his young second wife Jelena.

There he is confronted with the problems of his disappointed and depressed brother in law George; his insecure spinster daughter Sonia and the modernistic ecological ideas of family friend and doctor Mikhail Krushchov, nicknamed ‘The Wood Demon’

Conflicts are abundant. Serebryakov wants to sell the estate against the wishes of George and Sonia; Krushchov falls in love with Jelena and fails to see that Sonia is pining away from love for him After an unsuccessful attempt by George to shoot the professor he himself commits suicide.

The play ends with a picnic two weeks after the tragedy had occurred. A forest fire confronts them all with their own shortcomings.

The Wood Demon is an early version of Uncle Vania; less desperate and more close to Chekhov’s first short stories and vaudeville plays The Wood Demon is not just a sketch of the life of people on an Russian country estate; it a timeless and sharp tragic-comedy about decent and intelligent people who try to realize their dreams and ideals and unwillingly destroy each other.

‘…There lives a destructive devil in us all. When the climate is harsh and cold and people are the same…then the future will be terrible…” . The Wood Demon was set in a empty dusty sand drift; the characters speak frequently of the necessity to save the environment, not realizing that they are surrounded by death and decay.


Alexander Serebryakov: Bert Apeldoorn

Jelena: Tatiana Kouzovkina

Sonia: Frouke Flieringa

George Voinitsky: Jeroen Kranenburg

Mikhail Krushchov: Mark Bellamy

Leonid Zheltukin: Dmitri Ivanov

Julia: Saskia Jelsma

Ilya Dyadin: Istvan Hezso

Fyodor Orlovsky: Koert Krouwel

Director/Design: Vladimir Koifman

Costumes: Natalia Kondé

Light design: Aida Martin Diaz

Stage manager: Eric Schuurman, Onno Berkenbosch

Photography: Marcel de Vries, Annemiek Pesch

Graphic design: Image & Imagination

Production: Joost van Loon