Hallway-dwelling Semyon is unemployed and disheartened with life. When his last hope at turning his life around disappears he decides to commit suicide, only to find that a number of people would like him to die on their behalf. On the night of the deed, a party grows towards a glorious climax. Moira Buffini has freely adapted Nikolai Erdman's The Suicide, which was banned by Stalin before a single performance, to create Dying For It. Dying For It premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London, in March 2007.
Moira Buffini's plays include Blavatsky's Tower (Machine Room), Gabriel (Soho Theatre), Silence (Birmingham Rep), Loveplay (Royal Shakespeare Company), Dinner (National Theatre and West End), Dying for It, adapted from The Suicide by Nikolai Erdman (Almeida), A Vampire Story (NT Connections), Marianne Dreams (Almeida Theatre) and Welcome to Thebes (National Theatre). She lives in London with her husband and children. Nikolai Erdman was born in 1902, and began working in the theatre during the period of relative creative freedom which followed the Russian Revolution. He helped to found the Moscow Theatre of Satire in 1924, and Meyerhold directed his first play, The Mandate, at his own recently formed theatre in 1925; but The Suicide was banned before its dress rehearsal in 1929, and Erdman was exiled to Siberia from 1933 to 1940. He wrote little original work following his rehabilitation, although he joined Yuri Lyubimov at the newly founded Taganka Theatre in 1964. He died in 1970. The Suicide was first performed in Britain by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1979, three years before it received a belated Russian premiere.