Item #1720 [STENBERG BROTHERS] Otkrytie sezona. Kukirol’ [i.e. Season Premiere. Kukirol]

[STENBERG BROTHERS] Otkrytie sezona. Kukirol’ [i.e. Season Premiere. Kukirol]

Item #1720

Moscow, 1925. 72x107,5 cm. Small tears of edges, otherwise very good.

Constructivist advertising poster for the first comedy performance designed by Stenberg brothers. It was the premiere of the 12th season of Kamerny Theater. The review of contemporary political events, “Kukirol” debuted on November 29, 1925 and was castigated in magazines. In the early 1920s, leader of Kamerny Theater, Alexander Tairov worked on compilation and adaptation of new genres. The genre of political review, established in Soviet propaganda art of the 1920s, attracted many artists and varied from amateur “agitation trials” of the Blue Blouse to highly professional performances. Tairov tried to
reorient Soviet political review to European revues, the best examples of which he saw during tours. Revues frequently satirized contemporary figures,
news or literature. Tairov created satire upon political mores of contemporary Europe, instead of “defiant luxury of scenery, a show of costumes, girls
in top hats and shiny cancan stockings in the spirit of European music halls and Nepman cabarets”. The performance touched upon a number of acute political issues: struggle of capitalists for markets, falsification of documents of the Comintern, and so on. Also, racism in Europe was outlined.
According to a list of costume designs, “Kukirol” included two Black characters: a newspaper hawker and a servant. The first one is featured in the premiere poster. His original costume design shows lettering “Times Press” on legs and W on his chest – they were changed to the performance title for the advertisement.
In all, the production included anonymous representatives of Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, French colonel, Spanish colonel, Chamberlain, judge, prosecutor, lawyer, fake document factory owner, capitalists, drinker, female prostitutes and singers, disabled person, police officer, pastors, and many others who made the crowd more diversified.

The text was commissioned to several authors: P. Antokolsky, A. Globa, V. Mass and V. Zak, music – to L. Polovinkin and L. Knipper. A task of the Stenberg brothers consisted in creation of multipurpose scenery for a compelling show. One of the main principles of the stage design was its momentary transformations. Each element changed its purpose several times during the performance. There were a few types of elements. In a lower part of the stage, cubic boxes and lattice shields performed various functions along the action. Actors sat on the boxes and inside them, they hid behind the shields, but protruded at moments of replicas. Two ladders were made as the base for mise-en-scenes. The upper part of the scenery was constructed as two balconies on the right and left. They were covered with a net – it was necessary to climb the ladders to be on top. The simplicity of these objects – boxes, shields, ladders – helped to carry out transformations in front of spectators. Each action began with a descending ensign, in particular, a head of a black
man against the backdrop of palm trees meant “Morocco”.

Status: On Hold
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