Gulag Follies was an adaptation of Varlam Shalamov's Kolyma Tales by Jody McAuliffe, Professor of the Practice of Theater and Slavic and Eurasian Studies. She also directed the play. “Shalamov's Kolyma Tales is one of the most awe-inspiring works of literature to have come out of the Gulag [Soviet forced-labor camps],” says McAuliffe. “The tales are at once a true historical record and a formidable piece of literary invention about ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances, their hopes and plans extending no further than a few hours.”
As the prisoners’ brigade, the student cast put on Shalamov’s stories and sang and danced. The Duke University Department of Theater Studies presented the play in February 2009.