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Meyerhold: A Revolution in Theatre

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Vsevolod Meyerhold began his theatrical career as an actor with the Moscow Art Theatre but he left after four years to establish himself as a director in the remote provinces. At Stanislavsky's invitation he returned to Moscow and founded an experimental studio to find a new direction for the Art theatre's work. Absorbing influences from Maeterlinck, the Russian Symbolists Vsevolod Meyerhold began his theatrical career as an actor with the Moscow Art Theatre but he left after four years to establish himself as a director in the remote provinces. At Stanislavsky's invitation he returned to Moscow and founded an experimental studio to find a new direction for the Art theatre's work. Absorbing influences from Maeterlinck, the Russian Symbolists, commedia dell'arte and Oriental theatre, Meyerhold went on to develop a theatrical style that exploded the conventions of naturalism. His re-evaluations of the Russian classics culminated in his masterpiece, the 1926 production of The Government Inspector. In 1917, he supported the Bolshevik cause and was the pioneer of revolutionary theatre, but this great innovator fell foul of the Stalinists and was executed in 1940 on concocted charges of treason and espionage. Edward Braun takes us through the journey of this extraordinary life of experiment and discovery. He uses eye-witness accounts to bring to life Meyerhold's productions, their genesis, the problems the director encountered and the inventive solutions he provided. Braun describes Meyerhold's rehearsal techniques and exercises and provides an acute assessment of his continuing influence on contemporary theatre. In this fully revised and greatly expanded edition of his book The Theatre of Meyerhold, Edward Braun draws on papers only now being made available in Russia to describe the director's last days, his final tragic confrontation with the NKVD.


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Vsevolod Meyerhold began his theatrical career as an actor with the Moscow Art Theatre but he left after four years to establish himself as a director in the remote provinces. At Stanislavsky's invitation he returned to Moscow and founded an experimental studio to find a new direction for the Art theatre's work. Absorbing influences from Maeterlinck, the Russian Symbolists Vsevolod Meyerhold began his theatrical career as an actor with the Moscow Art Theatre but he left after four years to establish himself as a director in the remote provinces. At Stanislavsky's invitation he returned to Moscow and founded an experimental studio to find a new direction for the Art theatre's work. Absorbing influences from Maeterlinck, the Russian Symbolists, commedia dell'arte and Oriental theatre, Meyerhold went on to develop a theatrical style that exploded the conventions of naturalism. His re-evaluations of the Russian classics culminated in his masterpiece, the 1926 production of The Government Inspector. In 1917, he supported the Bolshevik cause and was the pioneer of revolutionary theatre, but this great innovator fell foul of the Stalinists and was executed in 1940 on concocted charges of treason and espionage. Edward Braun takes us through the journey of this extraordinary life of experiment and discovery. He uses eye-witness accounts to bring to life Meyerhold's productions, their genesis, the problems the director encountered and the inventive solutions he provided. Braun describes Meyerhold's rehearsal techniques and exercises and provides an acute assessment of his continuing influence on contemporary theatre. In this fully revised and greatly expanded edition of his book The Theatre of Meyerhold, Edward Braun draws on papers only now being made available in Russia to describe the director's last days, his final tragic confrontation with the NKVD.

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