Moskva; Leningrad: Iskusstvo, 1940. Item #1164
124 pp., 2 ill.: ill. In original cloth binding with stamping. Very good. Handwritten title on the spine, binding a bit chipped, Soviet bookshops’ stamps and small torn off label on the recto of the back cover.
Scarce. One of 3,000 copies.
Written by the Soviet actor and director Konstantin Yakovlevich Mironov (1901-1941), this interesting work is addressed mainly to amateur theaters and is designed for novice directors. The book, the main purpose of which is a consistent presentation to the director of all stages of work on the play, contains two parts: Preparatory Period of Work and Work with the Actor. The publication follows the course of the Soviet theater literature of the 1930s and emphasizes the exceptional importance of synthesis in art; nevertheless, the author places the role of the actor as the basis of the director’s work and builds his narrative from this perspective. The book opens with an introductory part, in which Mironov focuses on the essence of theatrical art and the peculiarities of acting. Further, the text examines in detail the process of preparing for the play and fractionates it into several segments: the first reading of the play, a general analysis of the work, defining the idea and theme of the play, determining the artistic features of the play, etc. The second section of the edition, which entirely concentrates on the director’s work with the actor, spans a variety of topics from distribution of roles and first rehearsal to Mise-en-scène and ‘breaking down’ of a text. The author pays specific attention to the connection between the director and the actor and encourages the former to spare no effort to establish a deep understanding between the two. Importantly, the text is accompanied by practical examples (such as breaking down Maxim Gorky’s play Meshchane [i.e. The Philistines] 1901) and numerous pieces of advice from the author’s own experience both as an actor and director. The book is based on the materials and lectures received by Mironov from his pedagogue at Vakhtangov Theatre, a famous Soviet acting coach Boris Zakhava (1896-1975).
Konstantin Mironov entered Ye. Vakhtangov theatre studio at the age of 19 and spent most of his life at the theatre, working as a drama actor and director. From 1926, Mironov concomitantly started working as an acting pedagogue at the Shchukin School. In the first days of the outbreak of the war, Mironov joined the people’s militia and was killed in action in 1941. His theatre productions include: Temp [i.e. Pace] directed together with O. Basov, A. Orochko, and B. Zakhava in 1930; Chelovecheskaya komediya [i.e. Human Comedy] directed together with A. Kozlovsky and B. Zakhava in 1934; etc.
Overall, an interesting insight into the work of the amateur theatre director.
Worldcat shows copies of the edition at Harvard University, Columbia University Libraries, New York Public Library, Ohio State University Libraries, and University of Wisconsin - Madison.