The historical drama Anna: Love in the Cold War by playwright Nancy P. Moss shares an intimate connection with Henry Hardy’s edited Personal Impressions by Isaiah Berlin. Set in 1945 on a bitter wintry night in Leningrad, Anna unravels the story of “two lost souls” who share a moment that teaches them both how to love and dream again. The performances will be held from April 22 through May 8 at the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre, located at 312 West 36th Street.
The play details the shared night between Anna Gorenkio and Isaiah Berlin: “Beloved and respected by the Russian people and the world’s literary elite, poet Anna Gorenkio (a.k.a. Anna Akhmatova) has not been allowed to publish in her native land for over 20 years. On this particular night she welcomes Isaiah Berlin, a lonely Jewish professor from Oxford, whose family fled Russia when he was a child. Suspicious of her visitor at first, Anna slowly opens up to this ardent admirer, recalling her life as a child, her many lovers and the pain she has felt for her country and why she has never left, despite her many opportunities to do so. As the evening progresses, the two engage in a sort of love affair, one which threatens both their safeties and which begins in a smoke-filled Paris café where they lock eyes across a crowded room; and ending with the two debating just what true freedom really means.”
Anna: Love in the Cold War is based on the actual meeting between Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin in Leningrad in 1945. Personal Impressions contains this vivid and moving account of Berlin’s meeting in Russia with Anna Akhmatova.