Lev

a monologue by Stijn Devillé
based on the fabulous life and works of Lev Termen. 

 
The play starts out in march 1922. The russian musician and inventor Lev Termen demonstrates a new electric instrument to Lenin. It’s called the etherphone, and sends out electrical waves: you don’t have to touch the instrument itself, by just entering your hand into the wave field, you change the tone that’s created.
 
Enthousiastic, Lenin sends out Lev to demonstrate his instrument, a fine example of Soviet Splendor, around the world. When Lev reaches the United States, the KGB asks him to infiltrate the scientific world. He knows he’ll have no other choice. At the moment he’s almost discovered by the American authorities, Lev flees back to the USSR.
 
There the Stalin regime suspects him of counter espionage and sends him to a camp in Magadan, thousands of miles away from Moscow. But on the outbreak of the war, Stalin needs his scientific abilities and calls him back. Still a prisoner, Lev will have to work for the KGB again, this time not as a spy, but as an inventor.
 
He creates eavesdropping devices to spy on the American embassy in Moscow, which will stay undiscovered untill eleven years after. Lev is released from prison, he’s dismissed of all his duties, but has to adopt an anonymous life in Moscow. He can’t contact his family, his wife, he cannot reveal he is a scientist. Frustrated, he begs the KGB to at least let him work again. So Lavrenti Beria, the head of the KGB, gives him the most secret assignment: he has to design a device to spy on Stalin himself.
 
But in 1964, at the age of 70, he is forced to retire. Alone in his room, he waits to die. It’ll take him almost 30 years.
 
When Lev dies in 1993, he has lived almost the whole of the twentieth century: served as a soldier under the Czar, fought in the revolution, lived both wars, survived Stalin’s camps, and witnessed the fall of the Wall. The play can be seen as a theatrical roadmovie. In the dutch version, the play was accompanied by a live musical score by Rudy Trouvé and Geert Waegeman (featuring the etherphone). You can listen to an audio recording by the flemish national radio (VRT) of the play on www.inbreek.be (mediapage).