The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin

December 14 – 15, 1973, December 21 – 22, 1973

Production Language English
Country of Origin United States
Description In many ways a compilation of all the stage work Wilson had done with the Byrds, Stalin reworked elements of Freud, Deafman Glance, Overture, and KA MOUNTAIN into a seven act, 12-hour piece. Developed during a residency at the Det Ny Teater in Copenhagen, the piece premiered in New York at BAM with subsequent performances in Brazil under the title The Life and Times of Dave Clark (a concession to Brazil’s political realities). Appearing for the first time with Wilson was Christopher Knowles, the teenaged autistic poet and artist who would greatly influence many of Wilson’s later works. The legendary Beat poet Allen Ginsberg—who would later collaborate with Wilson on Cosmopolitan Greetings—saw Stalin at BAM. He recalled that in viewing Stalin he was “at rest observing my mind,” and called Wilson’s stage work “a meditative theater.” A seminal piece for Wilson, Stalin received the Obie Special Citation in 1974.
Identifier 1973f.00122