The Suicide satirises the plight of an unemployed
Semyon Semyonovich Podsekalnikov.
Work gets around that he is contemplating suicide, and he is immediately besieged by spokespeople of various discontented groups - intellectuals, businesspersons, the church, artists and others, who beg him to kill himself as a gesture on their behalf.
The idea is that Semyon will leave behind a note, accusing and denouncing! Through the dead Semyon, the intelligentsia, business, church and others can make their complaints - after all, "only the dead may say what the living think".
What ensues is not only a lively farce,
but also a passionate plea
from the voiceless to the powers that be ...
Nikolai Erdman wrote The Suicide in 1928. But in 1932 its first Soviet production was banned by Stalin. It has never been produced or published in the USSR.
Erdman wrote only two plays, and died in relative obscurity
in Moscow in 1970 at the age of 68.