The script is written, the stage is set and the final act is about to take place.
A colourful cast of actors will compete for attention – they are there to make the show as entertaining as possible.
But everyone knows what will happen just before the curtain comes down.
One man, Vladimir Putin, will stand alone, triumphant.
The ice-bathing, fish-catching, ex-KGB strongman, who is starring in the performance that is the Russian presidential election, will win another six years in power on Sunday.
It will be his fourth term in total.
How do we know what will happen?
Things are skewed in Mr Putin’s favour.
For example, his supporters control the media and most other institutions.
Russians are constantly informed of the various ways Mr Putin has made the nation a great power again and his most serious opponent, Alexei Navalny, has been repeatedly arrested and banned from running.
“It’s fake, we shouldn’t even use the term election, it’s more of a re-coronation,” said James Nixey, the head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House.
“The Russians are trying to get what I would call 70/70. Seventy per cent turnout and 70 per cent of that turnout voting for Putin.
“If they can do that, they’ll kind of be happy. If they don’t achieve that, they’ll have to manipulate, tweak, fiddle.”
So if the outcome is fixed, what’s the point of an election?
Every ruler needs legitimacy.
It doesn’t matter if they’re a monarch, a tsar or the long-term leader of a semi-authoritarian regime.
Mr Putin wants a result that will yet again reinforce his total dominance at home and allow him to project his power abroad.
And that’s why the theatre of this election matters too.
In any show, you never know if the audience will give you a standing ovation or if the whole performance will be a flop.
“Perceptions matter more than figures because nobody really believes the figures,” Arkady Ostrovsky, the Russia Editor at The Economist magazine, said.
“This isn’t a truly democratic process.”
Because the result is certain, Mr Putin’s biggest challenge may be creating enough interest to get enough punters through the door.
Supporters of Mr Navalny are calling for a boycott.
Though it’s hard to gauge their influence and genuine voter apathy, reflected through low turnout, may ultimately be a bigger issue.
“But if the Kremlin tries to bump up the figures by stuffing the ballot box or getting people to vote multiple times, as it often does, this will be exposed on social media,” Mr Ostrovsky said.
That, as we’ve seen in the not-so-distant past, has the potential to trigger anti-government protests.
It’s also one reason why there’s a colourful cast of candidates and some even more extraordinary viral videos doing the rounds.
It’s an attempt to get out the vote.
The election cast
The main character in this show needs no real introduction.
Mr Putin is promising to keep providing strength, security and, most crucially, stability.
In case voters had forgotten the recent interventions in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria – not to mention the US election meddling – the 65-year-old recently used a major speech to helpfully remind everyone that Russia has a nuclear arsenal capable of obliterating the world.
But Mr Putin has been around for a long time, he first became leader in 2000, so to freshen things up, seven other candidates have been allowed to run against him.
Two are getting a considerable amount of attention outside Russia.
The first is Ksenia Sobchak, a 36-year-old wealthy former TV celebrity, who has bluntly declared the election is fake and conceded she has no chance of winning.
Ms Sobchak is often called Russia’s “Paris Hilton” and claims to now want a long-term career in politics.
But her father was the mayor of St Petersburg and was once mentored by Mr Putin, so some see her candidacy as a Kremlin ploy to undermine support for opposition figures like Mr Navalny.
The second is Pavel Grudinin, the so-called “strawberry” candidate.
He’s a farmer and businessman backed by the Russian Communist Party, who’s been criticising some of the policies of Mr Putin.
He seems to have a solid chance of finishing second and has even been repeatedly attacked by state media, possibly for performing too well.
But, as mentioned above, he has no chance of actually winning.
What happens once the final curtain falls?
Over the next few years things could get interesting because Russian presidents are only currently allowed to serve two consecutive terms.
“This is the starting point of a political process that we haven’t seen,” Mr Ostrovsky said.
“For the first time the political process will be determined not by Mr Putin’s presence in it but by the expectation of his departure.”
There’s already plenty of speculation about the different ways he could hang on to power or the ways he could hand it over, while ensuring he and his family are protected in the long-run.
But whatever the case, behind the walls of the Kremlin it’s thought different factions are already jostling for position.
Russia doesn’t have a great history of leaders or systems smoothly handing things over to the next generation.
“It’s possible Putin doesn’t yet know what he will do,” Mr Nixey said.
“But it’s certainly conceivable that this next presidential term will largely be about what comes next – Russia after Putin.”