July 17 this year is the centenary of the assassination of the Romanovs, the Imperial Russian ruling family whose lives were taken in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and whose murder shocked the world.
To mark the event, the Harare Film Society is hosting an evening of historical commemoration, presented with a live play and a screening of the cinematic costume drama Nicholas and Alexandra. This will take place in the Theatre Upstairs at Reps, in Belgravia, and will run for three performances: Sunday July 15, Monday July 16 and Tuesday July 17 (6.30pm each night).
A spokesman for the HFS said: “The murder of the Romanov family was one of history’s great tragedies and is an event debated and discussed even today, a century on from its occurrence. The presentation in Harare is designed to create interest and to focus on the human element of the incident, and will be of special appeal to anyone interested in history and in human drama.”
Tsar Nicholas II reigned as an absolute monarch from 1894 until 1917, when he was forced to abdicate in the first of two revolutions that took place in Russia that year. He and his wife, Alexandra — formerly Princess Alix of the German state of Hesse- armstadt and a granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria — has four children, four daughters and a son. That boy, Alexei, was a haemophiliac and this brought about the reliance on the mystic holy man, Gregory Rasputin, who was able to stop the uncontrolled bleeding that occurred in Alexei from time to time as a result of his illness.
Rasputin’s influence was disliked by the nation and was a key factor, along with the disastrous participation in the First World War, in bringing the Romanovs into a revolutionary situation in which the royal family was ousted from power and then detained. After the second of the 1917 revolutions, known as Red October, the world’s first communist state was created and in a situation of civil war the new leadership of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ordered the murder of Nicholas and Alexandra, their four children and a small group of their private staff.
“The House of Special Purpose is the name of the presentation being staged in Theatre Upstairs, and focuses on the background to the tragedy and how it happened, seen in the live presentation through the eyes of Tsarevich Alexei, played by Rogan Evans,” said the spokesman.
“The second part of the evening is the screening of the film Nicholas and Alexandra, a classic historical epic that delves into the whole story and helps people understand that, after all, this was a loving and close family unit that was wiped out and not simply the figureheads of a despotic and absolute regime.
“It will appeal to a wide range of audiences and we hope they will come to share this anniversary commemoration of a major turning point in history, on 100th anniversary of the very days of its occurrence.”
Booking for the event is now open at The Spotlight.