Moscow: Izdanie tea-kluba, 1931. Item #681
56 pp.: ills. 21x15 cm. In original constructivist style printed wrappers. Minor defects of spine, otherwise very good. Illustrated throughout.
First and only edition. One of 2000 copies. Very rare.
This is an attractive account on the first Soviet club of the theatre workers, linked the entertainment with education and aimed to turn the actor into a proletarian art worker. The club on the one hand was the analogue of the worker’s clubs, but for the actors, on the other hand it acted like a union organization.
One of the interesting examples of the work of the club was the series of ‘comrade court cases’ against the members of the industry. In one of these cases the writers Olesha, Kataev and Yankovsky were accused of underestimation of actresses. The claiming side included Meyerhold himself and his creative team (that presented on photograph and caricature poster). To bring the club itself to a new level, the members applied the visual attacks on the actors’ flaws: an effective anti-alcohol poster, a live diagram blaming workers in lack of the socialist lifestyle - there were two men, one of them ate in club’s canteen and was thin while another one ate in the restaurants and was twice as big as his colleague (on the photograph as well). Photos of such posters are an interesting historical evidence in itself, one of the images shows the entrance to the club with Gustav Klutsis’ poster sticking out of the pile of snow.
The first year the club joined together above 2200 members: actors, directors, critics, art historians, playwrights, conductors, artists, stage workers and students. There was the entire theatre space where absolutely all of them could have a direct conversation and may attend the cultural events, including the evening of popular science and technic with the theremin music, the impressive 1920s invention.
Such experiment lived for another 3 years and the club closed down in 1934.
Worldcat shows the only copy in Cornell University.