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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Business

The Belvoir Street is staging a new version of Gorky's Vassa Zheleznova, famous for the strength of its female lead.
By Zacha Rosen
April 17, 2011
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The Business

The Belvoir Street is staging a new version of Gorky's Vassa Zheleznova, famous for the strength of its female lead.
By Zacha Rosen
April 17, 2011
  shares
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Strong women, strongly written. Maxim Gorky's play Vassa Zheleznova is sometimes said to have been a bit before its time. A dying businessman's children are eager to know where his wealth is going, after he does. While they jostle for position, their mother has her own plans. As part of the first year's season of new director Ralph Myers, the Belvoir is presenting a new translation of this classic, rarely-played work. Translator Karen Vickery and writer Jonathan Gavin have transplanted it from a mercantile story in pre-communist Russia to tell the tale of the fate and family of a small Aussie business.

Vassa Zheleznova has something in common with The Borgias. It starts out with hungry inheritors scratching around a deathbed, and much of its fame springs from the strength of a female lead ruthless in her pursuit of the good of her family. So if you want to see if women can get away with the same scale of bastardry on stage as men, The Business is ready to move you or scare you. Or darker things to boot.

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