"Poor Murderer" by Pavel Kohout, translated by Herbert Berghof and Laurence Luckinbill

"Poor Murderer" is based on the Leonid N. Andrew short story "Mysl" (Thought), 1902. It was originally written in Czech and translated into German by G. and A. Baumrucker and into English from the Czech and German texts by Herbert Berghof and Laurence Luckinbill. This listing is for the English translation.


The main action of the play takes place in the great hall of the St. Elizabeth Institute for Nervous Disorders in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1900. The show follows a famous actor under treatment in a mental institution who wonders: did he really kill the actor playing Polonius as he was playing Hamlet, or was it only an illusion?


  • Professor Drzhembitsky
  • Anton Ignatyevich Kerzhentsev
  • First Actor (Alexey Konstantinovich Savelyov/Polonius/Hamlet II)
  • Second Actor (Ignat Antonovich Kerzhentsev/Rector/Waiter/Bernardo/others)
  • Third Actor (Dean/Lawyer/Major Count Byelitsky Kurganov/King/others)
  • Fourth Actor (Cashier/Newspaper Vendor/Conductor/Gypsy/Francisco/Polonius II/others)
  • First Actress (Tatyana Nikolayevna/Queen)
  • Second Actress (Servant Girl/Katya/Flower Vendor/Gypsy Roma/Marya Vassilyevna/others)
  • Third Actress (Voluptuous Mistress/Irina Pavlovna Kurganova/Countess Byelitskaya/others)
  • Fourth Actress (Slim Mistress/Duchess de Cliche-Turomel/Prologue/others)
  • Apprentice (Gypsy Girl)
  • Attendants
  • Musicians

Production History

Date Venue Company
Oct 20, 1976 Ethel Barrymore Theatre
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