The Forced Confessions of a Good Man

On the night of December 16 1916, Gregori Efimovich Rasputin was given poisoned wine and cakes, after which he complained of a sore throat and tiredness. He was then shot through the heart. He rose up and attacked his assailant before running outside where he was shot four more times, once through the neck. After falling in the snow he started to rise again was finally battered to death with a loaded stick. His assassins were tried, found guilty of his murder and banished to their country estates. Rasputin had no trial.

American TV trials, Russian folk dancing, cartoon burglars and Gregori Rasputin are brought together in a show that owes as much to Hammer Horror as to historical fact. Propelled through high speed slapstick and poignant speeches, the audience find themselves searching for clues and sifting through the evidence – but what was the crime, and who makes the laws, and can the ending be changed anyway?

‘The Forced Confessions of a Good Man’ uses an eclectic style of performance and contemporary media technology – video, microphones, recorded sound, slide projection – to explore the nature of theatre, and to challenge the preconceptions that exist in contemporary media culture.

Performed by Penelope Chilver, Nancy Heatley, Fiona McEwan, Warren Oldershaw

Video and slide production by John Forster, Kate Griffiths, Karen Jordan

Original soundtrack by Sean Bowen, Jenny Graham, PT Pawsey

Directed by Neil Mackenzie

Presented in 1993