CHILDREN OF THE SUN Discussions and Excerpts from a Gate Studio Workshop

Originally published in 1905, Maxim Gorky’s rarely seen dark comedy Children of the Sun has been radically and brilliantly re-imagined by playwright Matthew Minnicino and director Marc Atkinson Borrull.

Gorky wrote the original play from a prison cell in St. Petersburg, while revolution boiled over in the streets outside, and a cholera epidemic swept across Russia. The play was initially banned by the Tsarist government, and when it premiered later that year, the sounds of a riot onstage ignited panic in an audience still grappling with national unrest.

As part of the Gate Studio, the play was workshopped remotely during the pandemic with an award-winning creative team and a cast of Irish and American actors. These extracts from the process, alongside a discussion with Matthew Minnicino and Marc Atkinson Borrull, offer unique and revealing insights into the ongoing development of this dynamic new theatrical work.

Listen via Soundcloud below and explore using the project’s visual notebook. Alternatively, listen on Spotify, iTunes or Podbean. Headphones are recommended for an optimal listening experience.

Children of the Sun takes place on the estate of the Protasov family: Yelena, a self-proclaimed philanthropist, dreams of paving the road to a New Russia with art and beauty; Pavel, her geneticist husband, is on the brink of a scientific discovery that could change the very structure of human beings; and his sister, Liza, afflicted with manic episodes and sheltered from the world, longs for a chance to make an impact with her compassion.

Outside their doors, a shooting in Moscow sparks workers’ riots while a mysterious and lethal sickness suddenly sweeps through the town nearby. But inside, the Protasovs and their friends celebrate the dawn of a new day, full of beauty and discovery, as the violent revolution inches ever closer to their door.

With clear echoes of our current political discourse and fractured society, this strikingly contemporary adaptation is a savagely funny and blistering look at class, contagion, capitalism and identity.


Children of the Sun Company

Cast (in order of appearance):
Pavel Protasov: Jefferson White
Melaniya Chepurnaya: Rebecca Naomi Jones
Boris Chepurnoy: Marty Rea
Liza Protasova: Leah Minto
Yegor: Alex J. Moreno
Fima: Zara Devlin
Misha: Clinton Liberty
Yelena Protasova: Judith Roddy
Mitri Vaghin: Breffni Holahan

Director: Marc Atkinson Borrull
Writer: Matthew Minnicino
Visual Designer: Kimie Nishikawa
Composer: Lester St. Louis
Casting: Maureen Hughes
Editing / Sound Designer: Tom Lane
Stage Manager / Assistant Director: Julia Appleby

Supported by the Gate Theatre and the Arts Council through a Project award.