A small courtyard, in party mood, festooned with coloured lights. Rooms, isbas and muddy clearings in Dostoyevski's Russia. "Paraclete! Paraclete!" With this call, the fire butterfly which hovers in the shadows, flutters down. A hand snuffs it out. The music swells through the pitch darkness, as though rising out of a well.
"What is a great thought?"
"Changing stones into bread, that is a great thought.""Is it really the greatest?"
"It is great, but not the greatest. When you no longer suffer the pangs of hunger, you say: now that my belly is full, what shall I do next?"

There is no plot. In spite of the original intentions at the start of the work process, the performance does not evoke the life and works of Dostoyevski, but is dedicated to him. In the context of the second half of the twentieth century, it is one of the most influential European performances: it is an experience, for the spectators, of which it is almost impossible to speak in "objective" terms.

Photos: Roald Pay

Created in Holstebro, between April 1971 and April 1972, while Odin Teatret discusses whether or not to become an agricultural commune.

Actors: Jens Christensen, Ragnar Christiansen, Malou Illmoni (who leaves the group after the first few weeks of performances), Tage Larsen, Else Marie Laukvik, Iben Nagel Rasmussen, Ulrik Skeel, Torgeir Wethal

Literary Advisors: Christian Ludvigsen / Peter Seeberg

Scenic space: Odin Teatret

Adaptation and directing: Eugenio Barba

Language: The actors speak a reinvented Russian

Number of spectators per performance: 60

322 performances from April 1972 to January 1974 (Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Yugoslavia)