Ostrovsky’s black comedy has not lost any of its topicality. The story’s focal point is a dispute over a forest. Whereas for the wealthy landowner Raisa Gurmyzhska the forest is merely a chance to extend her property and win a young lover, it is just business as usual for her unscrupulous neighbour, the merchant Vosmibratov. The play’s other, no less significant, plot line is formed by the characters of the itinerant actors Gennady and Arkady, idealists who have little chance of succeeding at a time when a technocratic approach to life and values holds sway. Caginess, intrigues and changing conventions are the themes dominating Ostrovsky’s play.