Written by the entire show over two months, “The Kornilov Affair” chronicles the events that paved the way for the Russian Revolution.
The relatively intimate crowd settled into their seats at the Willow Creek Theater, ready to see an intersection of history and comedy. The lights went up and the audience fell silent as the show kicked off with intensity, the audience immediately captivated by The Kornilov case.
Willow Creek Theater Company presented the world premiere of The Kornilov casea dramatized comedy retracing the context of the Russian revolution, on March 4th. The show will continue to be played on March 5-6 and 11-13.
Willow Creek was officially founded in January 2020. Artistic director Luke Brooks, also one of the founders, said the theater tries to give various art forms a platform to respect and creates a healthier environment for that artists flourish.
The Kornilov case is one such show, born out of Brooks listening to a podcast called Revolutions. The play was written, designed and performed by the ensemble, creating a comedic masterpiece in two months.
“It’s this giant, beautiful, clumsy, amazing behemoth that lasts two and a half hours,” Brooks said. “We are so proud and so excited about it.”
The cast of six actors and actresses and a handful of other crew members worked in tandem to create The Kornilov case. Brigid Martin, actress and lead writer for the show, said the process of creating this piece was a unique experience due to the instant feedback the artwork received.
Due to the nature of collaborative work, Martin noted that there was a constant flow of communication between everyone involved in the project.
“We had a lot of fun working with and creating those moments,” Martin said. “There are a lot of surprises along the way that I think audiences are going to really enjoy.”
The room opened with a lot of exposition. Rather than actors and actresses presenting information through outdated dialogue, the cast threw themselves into song and dance to chronicle the political context that paved the way for the Russian Revolution.
With characters occasionally stopping the scene to include historical definitions and explanations, the convoluted political concepts were easily digestible by the audience. Despite the fact that the play was based on real events, the story was not lost due to its more complicated elements.
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The Kornilov case was hilarious, succeeding in its advertised comedy genre. Rather than just writing clever jokes, the team crafted distinct characters who were hysterical in their own right. Each individual had their own distinct voice and tropes, which led to moments that made audiences laugh.
While comedy was at the forefront of the play, there were still serious elements that lingered. All of the actors and actresses performed these elements with excellence – their hard-hitting stage presence filled the stage despite the relatively small cast.
Emotions ran high throughout the performance, and the audience was reminded that the Russian Revolution was a historic event that had tangible consequences in the real world.
Watching the show, there was an unmistakable connection to current political affairs. Given the current tension over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Willow Creek reached out The Kornilov case the use of Russian history amid iconography on their Facebook page.
“We hope the public will come out and use this show to connect with these incredibly important issues and allow our work to be a jumping off point for broader community conversations about current events,” the Facebook post read.
To be a world first, The Kornilov case has a unique position in the theater world that Brooks said he most looks forward to: seeing the work that has been in the works for several months finally take the stage.
“I’m so excited. I’m very confident in the show. I’m very excited for the audience to see the show and I’m excited for those first moments of laughter,” Brooks said. “I think it will be really meaningful for me.”