IAS Guest Olga Tokarczuk’s novel brought to London’s stage

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, the brand-new production of international touring company Complicité based on Nobel prize-winning writer Olga Tokarczuk’s novel, will be on stage from tonight (March 16) at London’s Barbican Center.

2018 Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Olga Tokarczuk. Source: Twitter

London’s Barbican Center will host on its stage from March 16 to April 1, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, the new production of the world-renowned company Complicité. Based on Nobel Prize-winning author Olga Tokarczuk’s acclaimed novel of the same name, which was shortlisted for the 2019 International Booker Prize, the new work for theatre was conceived and directed by Simon McBurney. 


Set in a small community on a remote Polish mountainside in the depths of winter, Drive Your Plow is both an eco-thriller and a darkly comic feminist detective story. It confronts its eccentric protagonist Janina, an older local woman environmentalist and devoted astrologer, with the task of solving the horrid murders of a series of men from the local hunting club who are dying in mysterious circumstances. 


Olga Tokarczuk’s novel – part thriller, part comedy, and part poetic manifesto for the rights of animals and the environment – caused an uproar in its native Poland upon publication, with nationalist critics labeling her an “eco-terrorist”. 


Complicité will start its international tour with the play in the UK, with award-winning actress Kathryn Hunter playing protagonist Janina Duszejko in this ensemble cast. The company is then set to perform in Germany, Luxembourg, Hungary, Austria, Netherlands and France. 


Olga Tokarczuk is an eminent Polish writer, essayist, poet and screenwriter, and the Laureate of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was invited to Tel Aviv University as a Sackler Fellow for the academic year 2022-2023, in the framework of the Institute of Advanced Studies. Her host Prof. Shahar Galili (Head, School of Cultural Studies), will arrange together with Dror Mishani (Department of Literature), Prof. Hava Dreifuss (Head, The Institute for the History of Polish Jewry and Israel-Poland Relations), and Dr. Dana Olmert (Head of the Women and Gender Studies Program) several events in her honor during her stay. 

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