The Storm (Ostrovsky)

The Storm (Russian: Гроза, sometimes translated as The Thunderstorm) is a drama in five acts by the 19th-century Russian playwright Aleksandr Ostrovsky. As with Ostrovsky's other plays, The Storm is a work of social criticism, which is directed particularly towards the Russian merchant class.

The Storm
Cover of the 1950 Russian edition
Written byAleksandr Ostrovsky
Date premiered16 November 1859 (1859-11-16)
Place premieredMaly Theatre in Moscow
Original languageRussian
GenreRealistic drama


Ostrovsky wrote the play between July and October 1859. He read it in Lyubov Nikulina-Kositskaya's Moscow flat to the actors of the Maly Theatre to a great response. To make sure the play makes it through censorship barrier the author made a trip to the capital where he had hard time convincing censor Nordstrom that in Kabanikha he hadn't shown the late Tsar Nikolai I. It was premiered on November 16, 1859, as actor Sergey Vasiliev's benefit and enjoyed warm reception.[1]

In Saint Petersburg the play was being produced, as in Moscow, under the personal supervision of its author. Katerina there was played by young and elegant Fanny Snetkova who gave lyrical overtones to the character. In both cities the play angered most of the theatre critics but appealed to audiences and was a tremendous box office success.[1]


The Storm provoked fierce debate in the Russian press of the time concerning moral issues. While Vasily Botkin was raving about "the elemental poetic force emerging from secret depths of a human soul... for Katerina's love is a woman's nature thing exactly in the way that any of climactic cataclysm is a thing of physical nature", critic Nikolai Filippov lambasted the play as an "example of vulgar primitivism", calling Katerina "shameless" and the scene of rendezvous in Act III "scabrous". Mikhail Shchepkin was highly skeptical too, especially about "those two episodes that take place behind the bushes". Stepan Shevyryov wrote about the decline of a Russian comedy and drama, which was "sliding down the ranking stairs" to the bottom of social hierarchy.[1]


Cinematic adaptationsEdit

Musical adaptationsEdit


  1. ^ a b c Lakshin, Vladimir (1982). "Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky". Iskusstvo, Moscow. Life in Art series. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
  2. ^ See Groza at IMDB.


  • Marsh, Cynthia. 1982. "Ostrovsky's play The Thunderstorm." In Leoš Janáček, Káťa Kabanová by John Tyrrell. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. ISBN 0-521-23180-9.