Friday, 27 January 2017

Music, Blok, Gogol and "The Tempest"

In an article by James David Jacobs about Shakespeare and music he writes
"The Tempest stands at the crossroads of theatrical history: between the Renaissance and the Baroque, between the Elizabethan theatre of the imagination and the Jacobean spectacle, between the primacy of the word and the primacy of sensory entertainment".
Similarly The Fairground Booth was written and performed at the threshold of a new epoch in 1906 in Russia.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Tokyo Journey - live presentation

Showing this short film to a live audience tomorrow in Moscow. Never expected to present it as such so a bit nervous how it will be received. Was at the venue today checking things out. Good sound - which is welcome as the soundtrack is important.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Encounters with the Russian Avant-garde

"Encounters with the Russian Avant-garde" is a book by Michael Craig which complements the series of six films made by Michael Craig and Copernicus Films about the Russian Avant-garde of the 1920s and 30s. Click on link to purchase book:

Fully illustrated including stills from most of the films, it is not only an account or explanation but also an introduction or to be more specific an "encounter" with this exciting phenomenon. The title reflects an active relationship: firstly through the experience of living in Moscow for many years, plus a direct encounter with the buildings, the architecture and the very territory in which much of the avant-garde arose and to some extent still exists. Encounter suggests something more casual, unexpected and unstructured but also a sense of living in the avant-garde and being part of it. After all it was the intention of the Russian Avant-garde to connect with the real lived world and to ‘take art out of the galleries and onto the streets and squares of Moscow'.

Dostoevsky and The Fairground Booth

fairground Booth
Planning an extra chapter about Dostoevsky and the Fairground Booth in the book Blok, Meyerhold and the Fairground Booth Its come about due to further research into the symbolist painters of the time who were involved with theatre set design and theatre in general in Russia and Europe: Benois, Somov,Golovin and more particularly Dobuzhinsky. He designed sets for The Devil’s Play, and an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Devils. Dobuzhinsky also designed the frontispiece for Blok and Meyerhold’s play The Fairground Booth.
Dobuzhinsky's illustration for the set of "The Devil's Play"
Dobuzhinsky’s illustration for the set of “The Devil’s Play”
This chapter and section will give an extra depth to the discussion about The Fairground Booth. It will also serve one of my intention which is to put the play in the wider context of Russian and European literature.
Attached are the frontispiece for The Fairground Booth and the set design for the fist part of  The Devils Play by Remizov
+Russian Theatre Documentary Series
#Dobuzhinsky #thefairgroundbooth

"The Fairground Booth" and "Petrushka"

This post is a fragment from a chapter of the book which will be published some time next year. The context is a comparison between the ballet "Petrushka" and "The Fairground Booth". Both share roots in the Russian fairground and the figures of the commedia dell'arte. To understand a play like The Fairground Booth which has no plot, no characters, no real sense of forward movement or natural time and broke from the traditions of realism and naturalism, requires an approach to Russian culture which moves beyond its surface reflections. When, as Bakhtin states, Dostoevsky's work embodies elements of carnival, (something which is not immediately associated with Dostoevsky), then it becomes clear why it is possible to find clues to the meaning of "The Fairground Booth" in works of literature as various as "The Brothers Karamazov" and The ballet "Petrushka" and vise a versa.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Vakhtangov and the Russian Theater Premiere

Several days back from the UK after a successful screening and Premiere of Vakhtangov and the Russian Theatre. It took place on May 10th 2014 as part of the Vakhtangov study day at the Rose Bruford college of theatre and performance organised by The Stanislavsky Centre which is based at the centre. It was a privilege to be able to participate in the and share the podium with the Vakhtangov scholar and specialist Andrei Malaev Babel who has written two books about Vakhtangov ‘The Vakhtangov Sourcebook” and “Evgeny Vakhtangov – A Critical Portrait”. Also Graham Dixon of the Mikhail Chekhov Studio in the morning session which he participated in together with Andrie Malaev Babel The morning session was dived into three parts. A long introduction presented jointly by Andrie and Graham, then the film Vakhtangov and the Russian Avant-garde which I briefly introduced and then a question and answer session with Andrie Malaev Babel, Graham Dixon and myself.

Vakhtangov and the Russian Theater Premiere

As the post production  film Vakhtangov and the Russian theatre comes to an end ( just some tidying up to do in various technical questions) other projects are already heaving into view. This is a mixture of new work and old which have been left to one side while the Vakhtangov film gets finished.