[Moscow]: Ogiz - Gos. izdvo khud. lit-ry, 1931. 44 pp. 16,6x11,5 cm. In original illustrated publisher’s wrappers. Fine.
First edition. Scarce.
This report provides a valuable insight into the process of reformation that the Soviet avant-garde theatre was compelled to go through in the early 1930s.
The 4th decade of the 20th century witnessed the suppression of all innovative studios and theaters across the Soviet Union. This transitional period from Meyerhold’s provocative experiments to the rigid frames of Socialist Realism was accompanied by a literary campaign aimed at defining essence of the new Communist theatre. Published during an early period of Socialist Realism, this report focuses on the tasks and problems the Soviet and, in particular, Leningrad theaters were facing on their road of reformation. The edition is based upon the idea of creating “an integrated theatre”, where a playwright would closely collaborate with other organic elements of the Soviet theatre, thus ruling out any possibility of non-organized and inconsistent work. The author also underlines the fallacy of the assumption that the genuine proletarian theatre excludes artistic heritage of the past, and states that the future of dramaturgy is constituted by a synthesis of the upcoming generation and pre-Revolutionary art adapted to the political and social needs of the time.
Starting from the problem of proletarian aesthetics and the necessity of collaboration between ideologically identical theatres (including amateur), the report deals with the topics of the staff and theatre shortages, repertoire production, set decorations, tours in regions, etc. Each chapter of the book is dedicated to a specific subject and scrutinized on examples of plays from different Leningrad theatres (Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater, Alexandrinsky Theatre, Theatre of Young Spectators, Workers’ Youth Theatre, etc.), such as: “Inga” (1929; Bolshoi Drama Theater; directed by Boris Dmokhovskiy, stage design by P. Snopkov), “Robesp’yer” [i.e. Robespierre] (1931; Alexandrinsky Theatre; directed by N. Petrov, stage design by N. Akimov), “Avangard” (1930; Bolshoi Drama Theater; directed by Andrey Lavrentiev, stage design by M. Levin), etc.
The last chapter of the report features an excerpt from the 16 October 1930 order of Leningrad Regional Committee of Komsomol. The excerpt comprises 11 articles with each one of them focusing on the ways of the artistic staff development.
Overall, the report offers interesting details on the transitional process of the avant-garde theatre to the official realistic style of Socialist Realism.
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