Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Three Sisters written by Anton Chekhov and produced by the Moscow Art Theatre with the director Stanislavski in 1901

Some scenes from The Three Sisters written by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) and produced by the Moscow Art Theatre under the direction of Stanislavski in 1901


First Act


Second Act

Third Act

Fourth Act


 

  "Three Sisters (Три сeстры) is a play by the Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov. It was written in 1900 and first performed in 1901 at the Moscow Art Theatre. The play is sometimes included on the short list of Chekhov's outstanding plays, along with The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull and Uncle Vanya.
   The play was written for the Moscow Art Theatre and it opened on 31 January 1901, under the direction of Konstantin Stanislavski and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. Stanislavski played Vershinin and the sisters were Olga Knipper (for whom Chekhov wrote the part of Masha), Margarita Savetskaya as Olga and Maria Andreyeva as Irina. Maria Lilina (Stanislavski's wife) was Natasha, Vsevolod Meyerhold appeared as Tusenbach, Leonid Leonidov was Solyony and Alexander was Artem Chebutykin. 
   Reception was mixed. Chekhov felt that Stanislavski's "exuberant" direction had masked the subtleties of the work and that only Knipper had shown her character developing in the manner the playwright had intended. In the directors' view, the point was to show the hopes, aspirations and dreams of the characters, but audiences were affected by the pathos of the sisters' loneliness and desperation and by their eventual, uncomplaining acceptance of their situation. Nonetheless the piece proved popular and soon it became established in the company's repertoire."

Friday, 28 October 2016

The (Marriage) Proposal (1889) written Anton Chekhov and produced at the Vassar College Theater, USA, in 1927

Some scenes from The Proposal (first published in 1889) written by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) and produced at the Vassar College Theater, USA, in 1927





"When Vassar College staged The Proposal in the 1920s, they performed it three times in one evening, each with a very different staging: "as realism, expressionism, and constructivism."[2] In the second version, played closer to tragedy, the actors were masked, and in the third the actors were all dressed in work suits in a playground, tossing a ball between them."

"The argument for theatre’s importance was not achieved solely through offstage efforts. Productions in performance too made the argument that theatre was central to education, cultural diplomacy, and the United States’ global reputation. Three particular productions exemplify how theatre was used to these ends. In 1927 Hallie Flanagan directed Anton Chekhov’s “A Marriage Proposal” performed by Vassar College undergraduates. Flanagan employed what she had learned during her Guggenheim year, particularly in Soviet Russia, to create theatre that helped her students understand themselves as part of a global artistic reinvention. The students were immersed in the ideas and methods of Russian Soviet directors Vsevelod Meyerhold, Nikolai Evreinov, and Konstantin Stanislavsky and in the process were able to envision a different way of looking at the world."

The Bear (1888) written by Anton Chekhov and produced by the Players Club in New York City in 1915?

A scene from The Bear (first published in 1888) written by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) and produced by the Players Club in New York City in 1915?



Monday, 24 October 2016

Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich (1868) written by Count Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy and produced by the Moscow Art Theatre on 14 October, 1898

Scenes from Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich (first published in 1868) written by the Russian playwright Count Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy (1817-1875) and produced by the Moscow Art Theatre on 14 October, 1898







"Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich was first performed in an amateur production in Saint Petersburg in 1890. It received its first professional production at Suvorin's theatre in Saint Petersburg on 12 October 1898, directed by P. P. Gnedich. Two days later on 14 October, the play was performed as the inaugural production of the world-famous Moscow Art Theatre, directed by Constantin Stanislavski, with Ivan Moskvin in the lead role and Vsevolod Meyerhold as Prince Vasiliy Shuisky. Since then the play has been revived frequently. Incidental music was written for the play by Alexander Ilyinsky"

Friday, 21 October 2016

The Storm written by Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky (1823-1886) and produced at the Leningrad Alexandrinsky Theatre, Leningrad, in 1916, with costume design for the play by Aleksandr Golovin

Five scenes from The Storm (first published in 185?) written by the Russian playwright Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky (1823-1886)  and produced at the Leningrad Alexandrinsky Theatre, Leningrad, in 1916, with costume design for the play by Aleksandr Golovin

First Act

Fourth Act

Second Act

Third Act

Fifth Act

 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Inspector General (first perfomed in 1836) written by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol and produced at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1892

A scene from The Inspector General (first perfomed in 1836) written by the Russian playwright Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809-1852) and produced at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1892





Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Life of Man (1906) written by Leonid N. Andreyev and produced by the Moscow Art Theatre in 1908

A scene from The Life of Man (first published in 1906) written by the Russian playwright Leonid N. Andreyev (1871-1919) and produced by the Moscow Art Theatre in 1908




"The Life of Man was staged by both Konstantin Stanislavsky (with his Moscow Art Theatre) and Vsevolod Meyerhold (in Saint Petersburg), the two main highlights of Russian theatre of the twentieth century, in 1907."

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Woe from Wit (written in 1823) written by Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov and directed by Vsevolod Meyerhold in 1928

A scene from Woe from Wit (written in 1823) written by the Russian playwright Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov (1795-1829) and directed by Vsevolod Meyerhold in 1928

 


"Following the success of his modern adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s The In­spector General (1925), Vsevolod Meyerhold turned his attention to Alex­ander Griboedov’s play in verse, Woe from Wit (Gore ot uma; 1823). Like The Inspector General, Griboedov’s play satirized the vain and materi­alistic culture of the early nineteenth-century Russian aristocracy. Woe from Wit tells the story of Chatsky, a young man who, after spending three years wandering throughout Western Europe, returns home to Mos­cow with the intention of proposing marriage to his childhood love, Sofya. Chatsky’s newly acquired liberal, Western views, however, make him the object of ridicule in Muscovite high society, which in turn threatens to ruin his chances of winning back Sofya. For his adaptation of the famous Griboedov play, Meyerhold took a number of liberties with the original script. Almost half of the scenes in Woe to Wit (Gore umu) are entirely new additions penned by Meyerhold. On his decision to largely rewrite the original script, Meyerhold insisted that a “play is simply the excuse for the revelation of its theme on the level at which that revelation may appear vital today.” In that vein, he recast the story in a contemporary setting, replacing Griboedov’s nineteenth-century aristocracy with “NEP-men,” the new Soviet aristocracy. The biggest change, however, is Meyerhold’s re­configuration of the “obscene” sexual mores of Muscovite society.
The original Woe from Wit is itself highly sexual. The opening scene is of Liza, Sofya’s maid, guarding her mistress’s bedroom door while she and her suitor, Molchalin, are alone together inside (supposedly playing music, although it is hinted at later in the play that they have been intimate with one another). Meyerhold’s adaptation is no less risqué. In his version, the characters casually carry around lubricant, there is an extremely homo­erotic billiards game between a father and his future son-in-law, and Sofya, the ultra-feminine heroine of Griboedov’s play, dresses in men’s clothing and enjoys the company of female burlesque dancers. What these last two examples point to, however, is the difference in Meyerhold’s sex­ual “types.” In Meyerhold’s version of the play, Chatsky returns to find a Moscow where gender norms have been destabilized and the people regularly engage in non-normative sexual behaviors. To better understand why and how Meyerhold recalibrated the presentation of sexual norms in Woe to Wit, it is important to note that Woe from Wit was not Meyerhold’s first choice for the 1927–28 theatrical season."

Friday, 14 October 2016

The Inspector General (first published in 1836) written by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol and directed by Vsevold Meyerhold at the Meyerhold Theatre, with the set design by Viktor Kiselyov in 1926

Several scenes from The Inspector General (first published in 1836 and revised in 1842) written by the Russian playwright Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809-1852) and directed by Vsevold Meyerhold at the Meyerhold Theatre, with the set design by Viktor Kiselyov in 1926




  
 
 
 
 


"In 1926, the expressionistic production of the comedy by Vsevolod Meyerhold "returned to this play its true surrealistic, dreamlike essence after a century of simplistically reducing it to mere photographic realism". Erast Garin interpreted Khlestakov as "an infernal, mysterious personage capable of constantly changing his appearance". Leonid Grossman recalls that Garin's Khlestakov was "a character from Hoffmann's tale, slender, clad in black with a stiff mannered gait, strange spectacles, a sinister old-fashioned tall hat, a rug and a cane, apparently tormented by some private vision".
   Meyerhold wrote about the play: "What is most amazing about The Government Inspector is that although it contains all the elements of... plays written before it, although it was constructed according to various established dramatic premises, there can be no doubt — at least for me — that far from being the culmination of a tradition, it is the start of a new one. Although Gogol employs a number of familiar devices in the play, we suddenly realize that his treatment of them is new... The question arises of the nature of Gogol's comedy, which I would venture to describe as not so much 'comedy of the absurd' but rather as 'comedy of the absurd situation.'"
In the finale of Meyerhold's production, the actors were replaced with dolls, a device that Andrei Bely compared to the stroke "of the double Cretan ax that chops off heads," but a stroke entirely justified in this case since "the archaic, coarse grotesque is more subtle than subtle.""

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Whiteheaded Boy (1916) written by Lennox Robinson and produced by Noblesville High School, Indiana USA, around 1920

A scene from The Whiteheaded Boy (first published in 1916) written by the Irish playwright Lennox Robinson (1886-1958) and produced by Noblesville High School, Indiana USA, around 1920

 

The Rising of the Moon (1907) written by Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory and produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, by the Irish National Theatre Society in 1907?

A scene from The Rising of the Moon (1907) written by the Irish playwright Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory (1852-1932) and produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, by the Irish National Theatre Society in 1907?





"The Rising of the Moon is a play by Augusta, Lady Gregory. It is a political play which examines Anglo - Irish relations. It was first produced on March 9, 1907 by the Irish National Theatre."

Sunday, 2 October 2016

If (1921) written by Lord Dunsany and produced at the Broadway Theatre, USA, in 1917

A scene from If (first published in 1921) written by the Irish playwright Lord Dunsany (1878-1957) and produced at the Broadway Theatre, USA, in 1917




The Queen’s Enemies (written in April 1913) written by Lord Dunsany and first produced at the Neighborhood Playhouse, New York City on November 14, 1916

Two scenes from The Queen’s Enemies (written in April 1913) written by the Irish playwright Lord Dunsany (1878-1957) and first produced at the Neighborhood Playhouse (1915-1927), New York City on November 14, 1916

 
 
 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

The Glittering Gate (1914) written by Lord Dunsany and produced at the Arts and Crafts Theater in Detroit, in 1916

A scene from The Glittering Gate (first produced published at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on April 29, 1909) written by the Irish playwright Lord Dunsany (1878-1957) and produced at the Arts and Crafts Theater in Detroit, in 1916




The Gods of the Mountain (1914) written by Lord Dunsany and produced at the Portsmouth Theater, USA, around 1920

A scene from The Gods of the Mountain (first produced at the Haymarket Theatre, London, on June 1, 1911) written by the Irish playwright Lord Dunsany (1878-1957) and produced at the Portsmouth Theater, USA, around 1920