Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Der befreite Don Quijote written by Anatolii Lunacharskii and produced at the Volkesbuene in Berlin around 1920

A scene from Der befreite Don Quijote written by the Russian playwright Anatolii Vasilyevich Lunacharskii (1875 - 1933) and produced at the Volkesbuene in Berlin around 1920



The Chief Thing (1921) written by Nikolai Evreinov and produced at the Theatre Guild in New York in 1926

A scene from The Chief Thing (1921) written by the Russian playwright Nikolai Evreinov (1879 - 1953) and produced at the Theatre Guild in New York in 1926




"His plays include the monodramas The Presentation of Love (1910) and In the Stage-Wings of the Soul (1911), the tragi-farce A Merry Death (1908, based on Alexander Blok's The Puppet Show), and The Chief Thing (1921); the last two of which were heavily indebted to the commedia. Based on Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths (1902), The Chief Thing provided Evreinov's one international success, was done on stage and screen in France as La Comedie du Bonheur and was staged on Broadway in 1926 by Theater Guild with Harold Clurman and Edward G. Robinson." 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Roza i Krest (The Rose and the Cross 1912) written by Aleksandr Blok and produced in Prague around 1920

A scene from Roza i Krest (The Rose and the Cross 1912) written by the Russian playwright Aleksandr Blok (1880 - 1921) and produced in Prague around 1920



He Who Gets Slapped (1922) written by Leonid N. Andreyev and produced at the Modern Theatre in Vienna around 1925

A scene from He Who Gets Slapped (1922) written by the Russian playwright Leonid N. Andreyev (1871 - 1919) and produced at the Modern Theatre in Vienna around 1925



Thursday, 15 June 2017

Thought written by Leonid N. Andreyev and produced at the Tribune in Germany around 1920

A scene from Thought written by the Russian playwright Leonid N. Andreyev (1871 - 1919) and produced at the Tribune in Germany around 1920



Okean (The Ocean 1911) written by Leonid N. Andreyev and produced at the Königsberg New Theatre in Germany around 1920

A scene from Okean (The Ocean 1911) written by the Russian playwright Leonid N. Andreyev (1871 - 1919) and produced at the Königsberg New Theatre in Germany around 1920



Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Lower Depths (1902) written by Maxim Gorky and produced at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1902

A scene from The Lower Depths (1902) written by the Russian playwright Maxim Gorky (1868 - 1936) and produced at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1902




"The Lower Depths (Russian: На дне, Na dne, literally: 'At the bottom') is perhaps the best known of Maxim Gorky's plays. It was written during the winter of 1901 and the spring of 1902. Subtitled "Scenes from Russian Life," it depicted a group of impoverished Russians living in a shelter near the Volga. Produced by the Moscow Arts Theatre on December 18, 1902, Konstantin Stanislavski directed and starred. It became his first major success, and a hallmark of Russian social realism."

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Living Corpse (1890) written by Lev N. Tolstoy and produced with Moisch? around 1910

 The Living Corpse (1890) written by the Russian playwright Lev N. Tolstoy (1828 - 1910) and produced with Moisch? around 1910



Vlast' tmy/ The Power of Darkness (1886) written by Lev N. Tolstoi and produced at the Kammerspiele in München around 1910

A scene from Vlast' tmy/ The Power of Darkness (1886) written by the Russian playwright Lev N. Tolstoi (1828 - 1910) and produced at the Kammerspiele in München around 1910



Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Mesiats v Derevne (A Month in the Country 1850) written by Ivan Turgenev and produced at the Moscow Art Theatre in December 1909

A scene from Mesiats v Derevne (A Month in the Country 1850) written by the Russian playwright Ivan Turgenev (1818 - 1883) and produced at the Moscow Art Theatre in December 1909




"The Moscow Art Theatre (MAT) production opened on 22 December [O.S. 9 December] 1909. It was directed by Konstantin Stanislavski (who alternated the role of Rakitin with Vasili Kachalov) and Ivan MoskvinOlga Knipper played Natalya, Nikolai Massalitinov was her husband, Islayev, and Maria Samarova his mother, Anna. Richard Boleslavsky played Belyaev, with Lydia Korenyeva as Verochka. The rest of the cast included Elena Muratova as Lizaveta, Nikolai Zvantsev as Schaaf, Ilya Uralov as Bolshintsov, Vladimir Gribunin as Shpigelsky, I. V. Lazarev as Matvei, and Lyubov Dmitrevskaya as Katya. Scenic design was by the World of Art artist Mstislav Dobuzhinsky. This was the first production in which Stanislavski made use of his emerging 'system' of acting, much to the general distress of the actors, and Knipper in particular."

The Cherry Orchard (904) written by Anton Chekho and produced at the Moscow Art Theatre in January, 1904

Two scenes from Vishnevyi Sad (The Cherry Orchard/ Giardino dei Ciliegi 1904) written by the Russian playwright Anton Chekho (1860 - 1904) and produced at the Moscow Art Theatre in January, 1904







Friday, 2 June 2017

Tri Sestry (Three Sisters/ Tre Sorelle 1900) written by Anton Chekhov and produced at the Schiller Theater in Berlin under the direciton of Felling? around 1920

Two scenes from Tri Sestry (Three Sisters/ Tre Sorelle 1900) written by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (1860 - 1904) and produced at the Schiller Theater in Berlin under the direciton of Felling? around 1920




Dyadya Vanya (Uncle Vanya/ Zio Vania 1897) written by Anton Chekhov and produced under the direction of Bitoev? around 1910

A scene from Dyadya Vanya (Uncle Vanya/ Zio Vania 1897) written by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (1860 - 1904) and produced under the direction of Bitoev? around 1910


The Bear (1888) written by Anton Chekhov and produced at the National Theater in Berlin around 1910

A scene from The Bear (1888) written by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (1860 - 1904) and produced at the National Theater in Berlin around 1910


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Les (The Forest 1870) written by Aleksandr Nikolaevich Ostrovskii and produced under the direciton of V. E. Meyerhold around 1900

A scene from Les (The Forest 1870) written by the Russian playwright Aleksandr Nikolaevich Ostrovskii (1823 - 1886) and produced under the direciton of V. E. Meyerhold around 1900




"The Forest (Russian: Лес, Romanized as Les) is a play by Alexander Ostrovsky written in 1870 and first published in the January 1871 issue of Otechestvennye Zapiski magazine. It was premiered in Saint Petersburg's Alexandrinsky Theatre on November 1, 1871, as a benefit for actor Fyodor Burdin. In Moscow's Maly Theatre it was performed on November 26, 1871. Ostrovsky started writing The Forest in the last days of summer 1870 in his Shchelykovo estate. "The end of it is near but I don't think it would be worthwhile to try and have it staged this season," he informed his friend Fyodor Burdin in a letter on November 4. Initially The Forest was conceived as a family comedy but gradually the satirical line in it strengthened with Nestchastlivtsev, originally a marginal character, becoming the main hero. Like many previous Ostrovsky's plays, this one has been tried out at informal recitals in friends' literary parties. The first of such readings took place in Mikhail Ostrovsky's home. Inspired by it success and following his brother's advice, soon after its publication Ostrovsky nominated the play for the prestigious Uvarov Prize but hasn't got it.  The jury's decision has been criticized by Pavel Annenkov who wrote: "Alexander Nikolayevich has been refused the Prize. Such was the decision of those walking suit-cases stuffed with quasi-scientific nonsense who sit in the [Academy's] Department of the Russian literature, having... not a drop of taste or poetical feeling; not a trace of understanding what mastery is in literature," he wrote to Mikhail Ostrovsky.
On May 14, 1871 the play got the approval of the Theatre and Literature committee. It was premiered in Saint Petersburg's Alexandrinsky Theatre as a benefit for Fyodor Burdin who played Neschastlivtsev. It also featured Maria Tchitau (as Gurmyzhskaya), Yelena Struyskaya (Aksyusha) and Platon Pronsky (Milonov). Ostrovsky was not in a position to control the process personally, tried to do it by means of letters addressed to Burdin. After the premiere the latter informed the author that the "play has been received very warmly" but that his personal absence "did a lot of harm to the quality of the production."  In reality things were quite different. The play flopped dismally, due, first and foremost to the inadequacy of Burdin who, according to one reviewer, "had not a modicum of a tragic actor in him."  Tchitau's performance (as Gurmyzhskaya) was found wanting too, in fact, only two actors, Zubrov (as Schastlivtsev) and Vasilyev the 2nd (Vosmibratov) have been mentioned by reviewers in the positive light. In Moscow The Forest was performed on November 26, 1871, as a benefit for Sofia Akimova (who played Ulita). It also featured Nadezhda Medvedeva (Gurmyzhskaya), Glikeriya Fedotova (Aksyusha), Ivan Samarin (Milonov), Vasily Zhivokini (Bodayev), Prov Sadovsky (Vosmibratov, Neschastlivstev), Sergey Shumsky (Schastivtsev)."
 

Revizor/ The Inspector General (1836) written by Nikolai Gogol and produced under the direction of V. E. Meyerhold in 1926

A scene from Revizor/ The Inspector General (1836) written by the Russian playwright Nikolai Gogol (1809 - 1952) and produced under the direction of Vsevolod Emilevich Meyerhold 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, 31 May 2017

Boris Godunov (1831) written by Aleksandr Pushkin and produced at the National Theater, Berlin with the stage designed by Emile Birshan? around 1900

A scene from Boris Godunov (1831) written by the Russian playwright Aleksandr Pushkin (1799 - 1837) and produced at the National Theater, Berlin with the stage designed by Emile Birshan? around 1900


Woe from Wit (Горе от ума, Gore ot Uma 1823) written by Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov and produced at the Moscow Little Theatre around 1920

A scene from Woe from Wit (Горе от ума, Gore ot Uma 1823) written by the Russian playwright Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov (1795 - 1829) and produced at the Moscow Little Theatre around 1920




"Woe from Wit (Russian: Горе от ума, also translated as "The Woes of Wit", "Wit Works Woe", and so forth) is Alexander Griboyedov's comedy in verse, satirizing the society of post-Napoleonic Moscow, or, as a high official in the play styled it, "a pasquinade on Moscow.""

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Himmel und Hölle (1919) written by Paul Kornfeld and produced at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, around 1920

Two scenes from Himmel und Hölle (1919) written by Paul Kornfeld (1889 - 1942) and produced at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, around 1920




Bocksgesang (1921) written by Franz V. Werfel and produced at the Theatre Guild in New York in 1926

A scene from Bocksgesang (1921) written by the Austrian playwright Franz V. Werfel (1890 - 1945) and produced at the Theatre Guild in New York in 1926