Isaac Babel published the play Maria in 1935, but has never seen its production. On 15 May 1939 he was arrested and brought to Lubyanka prison in Moscow. Nothing was heard from him, until his family received his death announcement thirteen years later. Maria was produced in a new translation for a Lunchtime Festival of Russian Classics in the King's Head Theatre in Islington, London. The play describes the desintegration of a complete social layer, the intelligentsia and middle class in prerevolutionary Russia.