• Paul Kalburgi


The extraordinary story of Countess Mariaska Romanov is one I have been itching to tell since 2010. Tonight, a cast of 11 fabulous actors, directed by the unflappable Scott Le Crass will present my verbatim play, 'The Countess' as a rehearsed reading at the Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell, London. I cannot express how excited I am to finally present this piece in front of a live audience.

I first came across the Countess when producing an ‘extraordinary lives’ documentary series for television and was immediately intrigued by the sheer scale of the scandal. The more I researched and tried to untangle the thickening plot, the more I realised that theatre would be the best medium through which to bring this story to life. Verbatim theatre allowed me to capture, edit and shape the story of the Countess and take an immersive storytelling approach.

I invite tonight's audience to witness a benefit scandal of epic proportions, told thorough interviews and testimonies from the people at the centre of the story and from inside the court room of the six-week trial dubbed ‘stranger than fiction’.

THANK YOU! - I would like to say a very big thank you to Catherine Taylor for ripping this story out of Pick Me Up magazine and putting it on my desk! David Hanson at Regents university for supporting this reading with rehearsal space. Anna Jones for support and guidance during the early drafting of the play. Niamh and Jo at the Blue Elephant Theatre for believing in the play and presenting it this evening. To Scott and all of the cast who have given their time over the last two months. To Jennie McGovern for providing technical support. And finally… to all of the contributors who gave up their time and memories to the project, without whom telling this story would not be possible.

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Location Auckland, NZ
Email paul.kalburgi@gmail.com

© 2020 Paul Kalburgi