Meyerhold: 1 2 3
Vsevolod Meyerhold was born in Penza in 1874.
Although he came to Moscow to study law, in 1896 he left
law school and enrolled in the sacting classes taught by
Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko at the Moscow Philharmonia.
In 1898, he was invited to join the trope of the newly founded
Moscow Art Theater. In the first MAT season, he played Treplev
in The Seagull.
After a falling out with Stanislavsky, Meyerhold left the
Moscow Art Theater. and founded his own troupe in the Russian
ABOVE: The portrait here is by Petr Vil'iams, and
dates from 1925
In 1906, the actress Vera Kommissarzhevskaia
founded a theater in St. Petersburg and invited Meyerhold
to direct. There he staged Alexander Blok's The
Puppet Show among other major productions. In 1908,
Meyerhold was invited to direct at the Imperial Theater
in St. Petersburg. He remained there for the next decade,
staging both plays and operas.
When the revolution occurred in 1917, Meyerhold
quickly joined the Communist Party, and in 1920, he was
appointed head of the theater division of the People's Commissariat
for Education. In the early communist years, Meyerhold staged
many notable productions including the first production
of Mayakovsky's Mystery-Bouffe (1918). Beginning
in 1922, Meyerhold staged a number of famous constuctivist
productions, including Fernand Crommelynk's The
and Alexander Sukhovo-Kobylin's The
Death of Tarelkin. Beginning in 1923, Meyerhold
had his own troupe in Moscow, and staged innovative productions
of both classics and new works. Perhaps the best known of
these productions were Nikolai Erdman's The
Mandate (1925), Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls (1926),
and Vladimir Mayakovsky's The
Bedbug (1929). By the mid-1930s, Meyerhold's relentless
experimentation was no longer in favor. His theater was
harshly criticized and then closed in 1938. Meyerhold himself
was arrested in 1939 and shot in prison in 1940.
For video clips of actors rehearsing Meyerhold's biomechanical
exercises, click here.
You will need the QuickTime
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