Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog



The following article appears in the student study guide for Flings & Eros, and may be interesting to those looking to learn more about production.


The origin of the name “Flying Karamazov Brothers” comes from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s book The Brothers Karamazov. Dostoyevsky was a Russian writer during the 19th century. The Brothers Karamazov is considered to be the highlight of his career as a writer, and he died just 4 months after having completed the work in 1880. The novel addresses the concepts of faith, doubt, and free will in Russia, and had a heavy influence on writers that followed, including Kurt Vonnegut and James Joyce, as well as psychologist Sigmund Freud. Let’s look at the characters from the novel that the Flying Karamazov Brothers have taken their names from.

Dmitri – Dmitri Karamazov– In the book Dmitri is Fyodor’s oldest son. He has many conflicts, as he freely spends all of his money on drinking and women. When Fyodor is murder, Dmitri is suspected of the crime due to his need for his inheritance.

Alexei – Aleksey or Alyosha Karamazov. Aleksey is the youngest of the Karamazov Brothers, and is described as the hero of the novel. His spirituality balances that of his brother Ivan’s atheism. He is also very close to Dmitri.

Pavel – Pavel Smerdyakov – Pavel is rumored to be an illegitimate son of Fyodor Karamazov, making him Dmitri and Aleksey’s half brother. He is employed by Fyodor as a cook, and is seen as a sullen character suffering from epilepsy.

Zossima – Zosima, the elder – Father Zosima is an religious elder who is seen as an advisor and teacher to the townspeople. He is very popular due to his prophetic and healing abilities. He helps to shape the character of Alekskey.

Other names used – Originally the group performed as a trio, using the names Dmitri, Ivan and Alyosha, those of the three brothers. As members have joined the group and left, other Russian names have been used. Some like Fyodor and Smerdyakov (Pavel’s last name) also have important roots to the novel, while others like Misha, Nikita, Rakitin, and Maximov are simply Russian names.

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