The Master And Margarita
The Devil is presented as a sinister figure, called Professor Woland, who is dressed all in black with black gloves and dark glasses. He has conversations which discuss the existence of God, Jesus and the authenticity of the Gospels. Weighty themes such as destiny, truth, authority and death are omnipresent throughout. His cat companion is human sized and is moved around the stage as a large puppet. Constantly swearing and with some of the funniest lines in the play, the cat provides some welcome comedic relief to the rest of the sinister narrative. The set is limited but used to full effect such as in the many uses of a police box and the clever use of staging to recreate the experience of a crowded Moscow subway train. The jarring background music throughout the play adds to the tense atmosphere on stage. Characters also make interjections to speak directly to us, the audience, through microphones stood on the stage at various moments. The text has even been updated for the ipad generation with references to popular culture today. The director Simon McBurney makes effective use of voiceovers when characters are speaking which creates an atmosphere of menace and reinforces the point that they, and we, are being watched. He also makes extensive use of video projection and multi-media, such as a spiralling large map of Moscow projected onto the back wall, as well as photographs of Stalin. Jesus is presented as a naked, emaciated figure who has been accused by Pontius Pilate of inciting the public to destroy a temple. Cameras are used to hone in on the bound hands of Christ and for close ups of individual faces.