15

SEASON TWELVE TO SEASON TWENTY: 1909-1917

The period after 1909 was one during which the work of designers associated with The World of Art movement began to dominate the stage of the Art Theatre. This was a phase in its history during which Alexandre Benois became a member of the company’s directorate and acquired an influential voice in the staging of productions. 1 The period was also marked by a sense of directional uncertainty. Stanislavsky’s path led him towards comedy and the past; Nemirovich continued to explore the path of tragedy and the present. These directions were marked by a seismograph of failure and success which defy obvious explanation.

In the season which saw Stanislavsky’s public triumph with A Month in the Country, Nemirovich staged Andreyev’s Anathema (2 October 1909) and Ostrovsky’s The Scoundrel (11 March 1910), the latter being the rare (for him) production of a comic play. Anathema is a strangely hybrid piece in which Good, in the shape of the Jew, David Leiser, battles with Evil in the shape of a personified Devil, Anathema. It was the first of three attempts by Nemirovich to stage plays by Andreyev who, apart from Chekhov, Tolstoy and Gorky, seemed to him to be the one modern dramatist worth staging. The production was adjudged unsuccessful, despite a memorable performance by Kachalov in the main role, wearing costume and make-up which made him look hideously like William Blake’s drawing of the ghost of a flea. The production also had striking sets by Simov, especially for the last scene before the gates of Heaven, dominated by the towering figure of an angel.

The production of the Ostrovsky play was chiefly memorable for Stanislavsky’s comic portrayal of the decrepit official Krutitskiy, which long remained a favourite with audiences. However, Stanislavsky’s performance, in its isolated moments of hilarious comic

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The Moscow Art Theatre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • A Note on Transliteration and Names x
  • Part I - The Establishment of the Moscow Art Theatre 1
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - Historical Background 13
  • 2 - The Society of Art and Literature 24
  • 3 - The Creation of a New Theatre 32
  • 4 - The Hermitage Theatre on Carriage Row 49
  • 5 - Actors, Salaries, Conditions of Service 58
  • 6 - Savva Morozov and the Lianozov Theatre 68
  • Part II - The Moscow Art Theatre Repertoire 1898-1917 83
  • 7 - First Season: 1898-1899 85
  • 8 - Second Season: 1899-1900 112
  • 9 - Third Season: 1900-1901 121
  • 10 - Fourth Season: 1901-1902 128
  • 11 - Fifth Season: 1902-1903 132
  • 12 - Sixth Season: 1903-1904 152
  • 13 - Season Seven to Season Ten: 1904-1908 165
  • 14 - Seasons Eleven and Twelve: 1908-1909 178
  • 15 - Season Twelve to Season Twenty: 1909-1917 199
  • 16 - Conclusion 204
  • Notes 209
  • Bibliography 226
  • Index 232
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