Originally adapted from the short story by Gogol, Diary of a Madman chronicles the life of Poprishchin, a delusional and low-ranking Russian civil servant whose gradual decline into madness is both absurdly funny and heartbreakingly tragic.
This highly successful stage production, created by Paul Morel and John Horwood (for Oddbodies’ previous company The Splinter Group), toured extensively in the UK, had sold-out runs in London and Edinburgh, and was invited to present a one-off performance at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in aid of MIND.
The piece is made up of 20 diary entries, each one shot in a continuous take and lasting between 40 seconds and 6 minutes.
“The production was an incredible challenge,” says Oddbodies, “not just for Paul to perform, but also for our cameraman (Teo Ormond-Skeaping) to shoot, wearing a steadycam harness and working with (almost) completely natural light (paraffin lamps and candles – extremely ‘authentic’ including the appalling smell).”
The full piece will be submitted to festivals, but in the meantime, due to the diary structure of the piece, one episode will released each day for the next 19 days. And the start of Mental Health Awareness Week seemed a very appropriate week to start.
“We really hope you will watch each one as we release it and share with anyone you think may enjoy this wonderfully absurdist but ultimately heartbreaking tale of one man’s descent into madness and the inhumane treatment he receives,” say the filmmakers.
Here’s the first entry. Catch up with it ever day!
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