Go See a Show Interview

Check out our interview with Robert Gonyo on his fabulous independent theatre podcast, Go See a Show!

“…I really fell in love with Dostoyevsky’s humanist lens, and how perceptive he is about people, and able to really appreciate them for who they are, even when they behave in dubious ways. He has such a beautiful understanding of humanity…it was just such a really exciting world to dive in to…” – Lavinia Roberts, playwright of Poor People

The Playwright, Director, and Cast of “Poor People”, Go See a Show Podcast, August 26, 2015

poor people

Fringe Review

“Poor People: A Stage Adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Novel Poor Folk written by Lavinia Roberts and created/directed by Irene Kapustina is a detailed and heartfelt encounter with loneliness and longing that draws shockingly strong parallels between 19th century St. Petersburg and 21st century New York. The struggle to make it through today. The struggle to imagine a bright tomorrow. Too many people, but few friends. Too much work, but little money.

The production is unapologetically cold and minimal — an exact mirror of the lives of the characters. Lavinia Roberts’ script is beautifully written bringing colorful words to an otherwise gray world. This adaptation, told primarily through letters and silent dream montages, brings Dostoyevsky’s characters to life. The characters share the stage, share dialogue, share their homes, their work, and their hopes for tomorrow but they never seem truly together. They are all alone.”

Poor People, Fringe Review, by Greer Gerni, August 24, 2015

Here is Our Press Kit

Poor People

Theatre is Easy Review

Poor People, Theater is Easy, by Emily Cordes, August 18, 2015

“Poor People thus asks us to examine how our environments shape our decisions, and to question a society which condemns its poor and forces them to choose survival over humanity.”

“BOTTOM LINE: An empathetic portrait of love and desperation.”

“With clear-eyed compassion and unflinching emotional truth, this adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel Poor Folk captures the platonic love between two working-class characters in nineteenth-century Russia, following their efforts to survive in a cruel and indifferent world.”

Check out Our Production Photos

New York International Fringe Festival 2015, Kraine Theatre, East Village, New York, NY, August 16-29th, 2015

Theatre in the Now Interview

Here is an interview with director Irene Kapustina and writer Lavinia Roberts in Theatre in the Now.

Theatre in the Now:  Spotlight on Irene Kapustina and Lavinia Roberts


“The matter in it is simple: it concerns some good-hearted simpletons who assume that to love the whole world is an extraordinary pleasure and duty for everyone. They cannot comprehend a thing when the wheel of life with all its rules and regulations runs over them and fractures their limbs and bones without a word.”
– Belinsky on Poor Folk, 1846

“Poor People,” at Kraine Theatre

“Poor People,” will run at the Kraine Theatre.

The Kraine Theatre is one of the most well known downtown venues featuring Off and Off-Off Broadway productions year round.

Bluestockings Bookstore and Activist Center

Join Irene and Lavinia as we discuss “Poor People,” read excerpts from the play, answer a Q&A, and do Theatre of the Oppressed activities around the social justice themes of the novel, to explore contemporary issues, such as workers rights and poverty.  Heidi Chua will be joining us to discuss contemporary workers issue.

Heidi Chua (@paimudan) currently works at the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New York Office, an internationally operating, non-governmental organization for civic education. In cooperation groups from around the world, she works on democratic and social participation, empowerment of disadvantaged groups, alternatives for social and economic development, and peaceful conflict resolution. She worked for over 10 years against sweatshop conditions in NY Chinatown supporting workers who speak out and organizing campaigns so that we all see our common struggle with sweatshop workers. These campaigns eventually won thousands in award money for low wage workers and punishing bad bosses who perpetrate these conditions

Support us:

Monday, July 6th, 7:00 to 9:30.

Bluestockings Bookstore and Activist Center
172 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002


Costume Design

Sketches by our talented costume designer, Cynthia McDonald

Check Out Our Kickstarter Campaign

FringeNYC Site

Poor People is on the FringeNYC site!


Rough Draft:  A Drama League Residency

A part of Poor People was presented at Rough Draft, a Drama League residency, which allows directors to explore the earliest developmental stages of working on a new play, musical or devised project in a one-day.

The Drama League Theater Center, Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Studio Lab

March 13, 2015, 7pm

Photos by Svetlana Surzhikova


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