Drama The Kolowrat Theatre

The Deafening Smell of White

Stefano Massini


Translation: Kateřina Bohadlová
Stage director: Lucie Bělohradská
Sets: Martin Chocholoušek
Costumes: Katarína Hollá
Dramaturgy: Iva Klestilová, Jan Tošovský

The austere whitewashed walls of a room at the St. Paul asylum for the insane. The only company for Vincent van Gogh is the narcissistic, detested “Doctor Evil”, the psychiatrist Vernon-Lazar – whose abiding passion, besides torturing poor Vincent, is cultivating white anemones – and two belching and dim-witted nurses, Gustave and Roland. How does the great painter feel in a place where there is no other colour but white? It is the year 1889 and Vincent’s only wish is to get out of the asylum. His first hope for salvation lies in his brother Theo, who comes to visit him, on the way changing between four trains and a carriage. Yet it is to no avail, since he is a mere illusion created by Vincent’s split mind. After violently attacking Doctor Vernon-Lazar, Vincent is left with the last hope, brought by the amiable and patient Doctor Peyron – hypnosis. The intriguing and sensitively built play earned its author Stefano Massini the Premio Pier Vittorio Tondelli 2005. The drama culminates three times, and each time it has the audience squirming in their seats. First by reason of unexpected disappointment, second for fear of that which will come next, and finally owing to involuntary resignation.

Drama in czech language.

Photo: Hana Smejkalová

Approximate running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes, no intermission


This production is not performed at the present time.


Vincent van Gogh

Theo van Gogh

Doctor Vernon-Lazare

Doctor Peyron

Complete Cast