Amber Lane Press

MAXIM GORKY [Alexei Maximovich Peshkov], 1868 – 1936, was born in the Russian port of Nizhni Novgorod (re-named Gorky in his honour in 1932). He was encouraged to write plays by Chekhov, who introduced him to the founder members of the Moscow Art Theatre, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko. Gorky is best known for his play The Lower Depths (1902) and his novel Mother (1907).

Philistines by Maxim Gorky ISBN: 0906399653 publisher Amber Lane Press
ISBN: 9780906399651
£8.99 £7.99
Buy now!


Maxim Gorky
English version by Dusty Hughes

Gorky's first stage play, Meschanye, was originally presented at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1902. The story centres around a prosperous house painter and his two sons, and because of its 'progressive' tone the play was cut by the official censors and granted a licence for 'members only' performances. Gorky draws a gallery of rich characters who brilliantly expose the political and personal turmoil of pre-revolutionary Russia.

The play has been performed in several versions in America (as Scenes in the House of Bessemenov and Smug Citizens) but this new adaptation, Philistines, by Dusty Hughes, commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, was the first major professional production to be staged in Britain. It was first performed at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon. (Cast 6+m, 6+f, 1b)

“Dusty Hughes’ brilliant revision of Gorky’s opus one, Philistines, is a major achievement, subtly and cleverly utilizing the hindsight of history to resuscitate a neglected masterpiece that now deservedly takes its place amongst the classics of early twentieth century Russian drama.”
~ Lyn Gardner, City Limits

“Never having previously received a major professional production in this country, Gorky’s first play Philistines has all the richness and amplitude of a Victorian novel.”
~ Francis King, Sunday Telegraph

“ is in the painstaking characterisation and in Dusty Hughes’ accessible, humourous and lucid translation that this production comes into its own. It is also a poignantly funny play...”
~ Suzie Mackenzie, Time Out

“ absorbing and, in all senses, tremendous theatrical experience ... aided by Dusty Hughes’s marvellously natural dialogue...”
~ Martin Hoyle, Financial Times


Maxim Gorky
Vassa Zheleznova
translated by Tania Alexander and Tim Suter

Vassa Zheleznova is a woman of iron will and a powerful matriarch. Her tragedy, however, is to see her family destroyed by the very bourgeois values that she seeks to preserve. Tania Alexander and Tim Suter’s is the first English translation of the original version of Gorky’s play which is an attack on the corruption of human decency by materialism, ambition and greed. It was first broadcast on BBC Radio Three in 1986, winning Billie Whitelaw the Sony Radio Award for Best Actress. Their translation was later adapted and directed by Howard Davies for the Almeida Theatre Company at the Albery Theatre starring Sheila Hancock. (Cast 4m, 6f)

“Maxim Gorky wrote two versions of Vassa: the first in 1909, when he was his own man, and the second in 1935, when he was, however reluctantly, Stalin’s and had to convey a political message. It is the first version ... that explodes onto the Albery stage ... It is an all-out, slam-bang of a play, all teeth and claws, and hugely enjoyable.”
~ David Nathan, Jewish Chronicle

"...a seldom-seen and remarkable play that extends our knowledge of the western canon - in particular, the Russian canon... Gorky is frequently remarkable for his strong women, and it is the title character of Vassa that most distinguishes either version of this play. She is startlingly unscrupulous, ruthless, indomitable ... [But in this first version] the entire play has more comic relief and human warmth to offset its dark central drama."
~ Alistair Macaulay, The Finanical Times

"As a family, Maxim Gorky's disgusting bunch in Vassa make the Munsters look perfect ..[it] presents a dark but often comic slice of gruesome family life in turn-of-the-century Russia."
~ Bill Hagerty, News of the World

"The rawness and brio of this savage, uncompromising early play is an eye-opener..."
~ Michael Coveney, Daily Mail



Vassa Zheleznova by Maxim Gorky ISBN: 0906399831 published by Amber Lane Press
ISBN: 9780906399835
Buy now!

You can buy Maxim Gorky's plays via this site at a discount.

Amber Lane Press, 80 Hill Rise, Richmond-Upon-Thames, Surrey, TW10 6UB
Telephone :-    +44(0)208 948 1427
Home Email enquiries Top of page
How to order