[FORMING UKRAINIAN THEATER] Suchasnyi Ukrayins’kyi teatr : Zbirka stattiv [i.e. Contemporary Ukrainian Theater: Collection of Articles]
Kharkiv: Derzhavne vydavnitstvo Ukraini, 1929. Item #1135
104 pp. 22x15 cm. In contemporary full-cloth binding. Very good. Colored pencil underlines, traces of paper glued on front endpaper and Soviet bookshop marks from 1970s on the back endpaper. Last leaf of the table of contents lost. One of 5000 copies. Very rare.
The author of this book was a witness and active contributor to contemporary tendencies in Ukrainian theater of the 20th century. Iona Shevchenko (1887-1937) was an actor in Les Kurbas’ avant-garde theaters ‘Young Theater’ and ‘Berezil’, was a theatrical critic, as well as brother of an actor Lasar Shevchenko. In 1937, Iona Shevchenko was executed and died in exile.
Most articles of this collection were earlier published in magazines but were revised, enlarged and complemented with an introduction and an article ‘Pobutovyi teatr’. Shevchenko paid more attention to ‘Young Theater’ and ‘Berezil’, because he was partly responsible for their development and had already seen their huge impact by the late 1920s. He overviewed performances of ‘Berezil’ until 1928, highlighting its masterpieces with ‘machinery esthetics’: ‘Gas’ by G. Kaiser and ‘The Machine-Wreckers’ by E. Toller (1923-1924). Changes of art styles happened along with changes in official attitudes. In the late 1920s, Kurbas’ activity became a subject of official dispute due to his avant-garde approach and was blamed for formalism. The theater was under watch of Soviet authorities in the 1930s and Kurbas met the same fate as Shevchenko.
Meanwhile, the book also outlined national, proletarian and classic stagings of State Chervonozavodskyi Theater, VURPS theater ‘Jolly Proletar’, Odessa Drama Theater and Maria Zankovetska Theatre in Lviv, evaluated contemporary criticism and policy toward theatrical art.
According to Worldcat, the only copy is located in University of Illinois.