Behind the Curtain: Russian Troll Farm is on stage now at Geva Theatre Center
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Set inside Russia’s Internet Research Agency during the 2016 American presidential election, Russian Troll Farm deals with an alarming subject in a unique way.
“The play is about the real-life Russian troll farm, which is a real-life place in St. Petersburg in Russia, where there are workers working around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to influence public opinion,” said Playwright Sarah Gancher. “The more that I learned about it, I was like okay so the job is to make up characters and to stage fights and to write dialogue and get people to feel a thing… I thought, oh my god, they’re playwrights! They’re like me. You know, they’re just writers.”
The Obie Award-winning play is described by its creators as a workplace comedy.
“It’s really funny,” said Geva Theatre Center’s Artistic Director Elizabeth Williamson. “It’s got an office romance, it’s all the things you expect from The Office or another show of that genre, except the job they’re doing is taking down American democracy.”
Originally a virtual production that premiered during the pandemic when theaters across the country were closed, the play’s in-person version gives audiences a look at what Russian hackers see on their screens, and involves a variety of multimedia elements.
“In the in-person production that’s here at Geva, we are going to be surprising you with a lot of different multimedia tricks,” said Multimedia and Projections Designer Jared Mezzocchi. “We’ve got hidden cameras, we’ve got projections that are being mapped all over the stage, and so just when you think you know what you’re looking at, there’s gonna be some things around the corner that will keep you surprised.”
Playwright Sarah Gancher explains why this tough topic gives audiences a perfect opportunity to laugh. She says “You know, when you’re laughing at something you can look at a lot of things that are hard to think about, hard to process, but because you’re laughing it becomes a delight.”
Russian Troll Farm runs at Geva Theatre Center through March 26. Click here to purchase tickets.