Moscow: Gosizdat, 1924. Item #757
156 pp.: ill. 24x15 cm. In original illustrated constructivist wrappers (by P.R.). Good. Tears and losses of the spine, Soviet bookshop’s stamp on the back cover, pale stains on the wrappers and a few pages.
First and only edition. One of 10000 copies. Rare.
The phenomenon of the workers’ clubs is one of the most interesting ones in the history of early Soviet culture. Stated by Trotsky that the clubs were ‘the forge of the proletarian class culture’, they were the connection between the art and the masses, the link between left aesthetics and proletarian self-conscience. Workers’ clubs started to appear in 1920 and by the mid-1920s covered the country and were set to be multi-functional tool to educate, agitate, entertain and cultivate the masses. The result should have been the creation of a new man, a new life, so the workers’ club were very much in tune with the Soviet ideology of 1920s. They were organised locally, usually by the unions or other initiative groups, and they were given a lot of privileges: good buildings (often designed by the best constructivist architects of the day), supplies, support in the media and by the party officials. The unusual cultural-social experiment of making a new man came to its end in the early 1930s, when Proletkult was closed and the life of the country has started to change. The clubs itself remained but lost its independence, started to be used more for propaganda purposes or the routine entertainment events.
This edition provides guidelines and instructions on how to organize creative process in drama studios in clubs across the Union. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific subject and scrutinized on example of a play. Overall 8 plays are mentioned in the book and for some parts of script are given. There are chapters on how to reduce a play, how to make a march more theatrical, performance on street, ‘live’ newspapers, composition of script based on a few sources, how to connect drama studio and general work of the club, how to make a novel into a play. Chapters also include information on lighting, costumes, set designs, props, etc. The text is supplemented with drawings and scheme.
Worldcat locates copies at Amherst College Library, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Germany).