The play is a dramatic re-telling of the fame and decline into madness of Vaslav Nijinsky, the greatest male dancer in the history of ballet and a genius as a choreographer. Using dance and music to colour the emotional life of the story. It is told from the perspective of the older Nijinsky at 60 and near death. He “re-visits” his life to try to understand his tragedy. He summons up his own “spirit” - himself at 29 just before he went mad – to help him. Between them – and with the help of “The Woman” who is every-woman in his life, from dance partner, to wife, to mother – they play out the central moments and characters of Nijinsky’s decade of fame from 19 to 29. Scenes explore his adoration of his mother and contempt for his father; his early fame as a dancer; his artistic and personal liaison with Diaghilev; his controversial choreography for Afternoon of a Faune and Rite of Spring; his marriage; his break with Diaghilev; his decline into a 30-year madness.

The three actor/dancers role-play some 16 characters in the telling of the story. The brilliant costumes, music and dance involved in Nijinsky’s life are used – mostly suggested in broad strokes - to illustrate the richness of his emotional journey towards the twilight of madness.

  • bioplay with music and dance
  • 100
  • 3 total
  • 1 female identifying, 2 male identifying
  • 16 to 18, 18+
  • adult
  • Australian Script Centre


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Male | 60+ | 3 to 5 minutes
Starts on page 2

EXTRACT: Before I die .... and I must! Thirty years of madness, silence, immobility is enough! I'm sixty-one years old. I was born in Kiev in 1889. I have lived in rage ever since. Not passion - rage! Even this long twilight is rage - a raging silence in the face of - in the face of - in the face of my wife!


Male | Unspecified | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 21

EXTRACT: Sergei Pavlovitch, history will indeed make judgement on the outrageously unfair way you have treated me as an artist. You have my resignation. And the Ballets Russes can now have as choreographer a young man who works in secrecy for fear of criticism and who takes over a year to create a 12-minute ballet.

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