Tolstories: From Aristocrat to Holy Fool

Available for booking fall of 2022

An original adaptation of selected Leo Tolstoy short stories by Doug Berky with Carol Sutton

My journey with Leo Tolstoy has been one of challenge, inspiration and introspection. Once intimidated by Tolstoy, the imagined literary giant, I now find myself drawn to the seeking, provocative, and humanitarian Tolstoy. In my research, I discovered a Tolstoy who advocated for literacy and wrote stories for children, who advocated for religious freedom and led national efforts for famine relief, who opposed capital punishment and advocated for non-violent resistance to evil. Inspiration from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount forever changed the way he lived his life.

His stories written after this transformation provide insight into his spiritual struggles with the meaning of this life. I hope audiences will enjoy and be challenged by these stories.

Many thanks to the Furman University Department of Theatre Arts for their encouragement and support to explore this new work.

The Three Hermits

A traveling Bishop encounters three “Holy” hermits on a journey. In an amusing parable, Tolstoy reminds us of the Biblical theme that the rich and powerful will be brought low and the lowly, lifted up.

Three Questions

In 1903, after a pogrom in Kishinev, Leo Tolstoy donated this story and two others for publication to raise money for the survivors. This story is about a king on a quest for wisdom and the unlikely way he discovers it.

Esarhaddon: King of Assyria

Tolstoy devoted his later years to non-violent resistence to evil and oppression. In this story he explores the themes of violence and war. King Esarhaddon, in a vision, experiences the violence and horrors from his own hand as he becomes his enemy.