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Volume 1, Number l January 1981

We're very pleased to present this first issue of the Institute NEWSNOTES. We
sincerely hope that they will serve as an important means for continuing and broadening
the work of the Institute by furthering professional and scholarly contacts and by
serving as a clearing house for information on Soviet and East European Drama and Theatre .
Alma H. Law and Daniel C. Gerould
Co-Directors, Institute for Contemporary
Eastern European Drama and Theatre
Center for Advanced Study in Theatre Arts
Please permit me to add my words of welcome to those of Alma and Dan, and to
express my feeling of excitement in anticipation of my continued, pleasurable involve-
ment with all of you and with the subject in whi ch we all share a common interest.
Let me also, at the outset, request your patience and indulgence concerning any mis-
takes I will undoubtedly make in editing the NEWSNOTES . This is the first time I
have ever undertaken such an enterprise. There are bound to be failings in the
beginning, but I am certain that they will be eliminated with the help of all of you.
I think it highly important, for our benefit, to stay in touch with each other and to
inform one another of anything whi ch may have an effect on o'ur disciplines. Let me
therefore ask you all to send me any information which may fall into your hands, and
which you might want to share with your colleagues, concerning the general area
of Soviet and East European drama and theatre. I am thinking of items such as,
but not restricted to, the following:
Your own activities;
the activities of others in the field;
performances here and abroad;
meetings and conventions ;
bibliographical data;
pedagogical-methodological news;
items from the Western and Eastern European press:
visiting firemen;
publishing opportunities;
research facilities and grants ;
employment opportunities.
I would also be extremely grateful for any advice concerning the structuring
of the NEWSNOTES .
I am looking forward to seeing several of you again next spring. In the mean-
time, please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you.
Leo Hecht
NEWSNOTES is a publication of the Institute for Contemporary Eastern European Drama and
Theatre under the auspices of the Center for Advanced Study in Theatre Arts with sup-
port from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Room 803, City University Graduate
Center, 33 West 42nd St., New York, New York 10036. NEWSNOTES Editor: Leo Hecht, Dept .
of Foreign Languages and Literatures, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virgini a 22030.
more ...
NEWSNOTES/January 1981 2
The Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. will be presenting The Suicide, which was
written by Nikolai Erdman at the very end of the NEP period (1928-1929). This is an
absurd, grotesque farce which concentrates on the ordinary citizens' view of the inade-
quacies of the Soviet regime . .. It will be performe<i from January 16 to February 22, 1981.
An outstanding exhibition, "The Avant-Garde in Russia, 1910-1930: New Perspectives,"
is now occupying an entire floor of the Hirshhorn Museum of the Smithsonian Institution
in Washington, D.C. It contains a vast collection of paintings, books, posters and
other art work representing Primitivism, Rayonism, Constructivism, Cuba-Futurism, and
many other isms. The items have been from all over the world except the
Soviet Union, just for this exhibit. The Museum also has available a catalog with
critical notations, for $11 . 95. It may be purchased by writing to the bookstore at
the Hirshhorn. The exhibition may be of interest to those involved with Russian theatre,
since it contains quite a number of stage designs, plus a full-scale reconstruction of
the "furniture" and costumes designed by Varvara Stepanova for Meierkhold's 1922 pro-
duction of Tarelkin's Death . The exhibit closes on February 15, 1981.
In connection with the Exhibition, the East Coast premiere of Victory over the Sun,
a re-creation of the 1913 Futurist opera with sets and costumes by Malevich, music by
Matiushin, text by Kruchenykh, and a prologue by Khlebnikov, will take place on
January 23, 24, 25 (seven performances only) at the Baird Auditorium, Museum of Natural
History. Produced and directed by the California Institute of the Arts, the re-creation
was hailed by critics and audiences alike when performed last September at the Los
Angeles County Museum of Art . Victory over the Sun embodies the passionate vision
of the Russian Avant-Garde and maintaines a freshness that makes it startlingly relevant
for today's audiences of all ages--"a kind of bizarre cross between Star Wars and
Thus Spake Zarathustra," according to the San Francisco Chronicle .
Taborski and his wife Halina intend to visit the United States and
Canada for a month, arriving in the last week of March, 1981. They will be available
for lectures centering around the theatrical work and artistic background of Pope John
Paul II. is a distinguished poet, critic, and translator; he is now preparing
a collected edition in English of the Pope's plays as well as a book on Wojty?a's con-
nections with the theatre. Halina is a well-known art historian and lecturer on
aesthetics; she is prepared to talk on the Polish churches in the life of as
well as on Polish Art Nouveau. The Taborskis may be contacted at 66 Esmond Road,
London W4 lJF, England (Tel. 01-994-0501).
Kazimierz Braun, director of the Contemporary Theatre in is planning a
tour of the United States in March-April, 1981, with Tymoteusz Karpowicz's His Little
Girl, a two-actor play. He will also do workshops and lectures in English. If you
are interested in having Mr. Braun and his production come to your campus, contact
Jerzy A. Siracki, P.O. Box A3673, Chicago, Illinois 60690.
There will be a panel on West Slavic drama at the North East Modern Language
Association conference in Quebec City April 9-11, 1981. Anyone interested in giving a
paper should contact the panel chairman, Professor Robert Winter, Rider College,
P.O. Box 6400, Lawrenceville, N. J. 08648 .
The 1981 Midwest Slavic Conference will be held April 10-12, 1981 on the campus
of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Proposals for papers or complete
panels should be sent to Robert Kanet, Department of Political Science, 496 Lincoln
Hall, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill . 61801.
more ...
NEWSNOTES/January 1981 3
NEWS FROM MEMBERS OF THE INSTITUTE: Please contact the individuals mentioned for
additional information:
On August 12, Andre Sedriks from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, con-
ducted a panel at the American Theatre Association 44th Annual Convention which was
held in San Diego. The title of the panel was "Contemporary Trends in Acting, Direct-
ing, and Design in Eastern Europe." Among the speakers were Alfreds Straumanis from
Southern Illinois University and Roland Myers from Wayland Baptist College. Gregory
Hill from the University of Kansas was scheduled to talk on some aspects of scene
design in Yugoslavia, but unfortunately he was unable to attend the convention. On
the spot substitutes for the missing speaker were found in the persons of Samuel
Elkind from San Francisco State University and Mor.t Clark from Westchester Community
College. Sam Elkind first spoke about our summer Institute and ventured an explanation
for its extraordinary success, the key being an interesting combination of scholars
working together in harmony. Roland Myers next showed some personal slides from
various Moscow theatres and productions he had seen. He also recounted some anecdotes
which were relished by all who have experienced Russian red tape bunglings. Alfreds
Straumanis then presented penetrating insights on the state of Polish drama and
theatres in Included was a thorough evaluatory account of Kantor's The
Dead Class. Mort Clark, who has travelled through every Eastern European country
except Albania, shared numerous interesting and amusing insights on politics, drama,
and human nature. The panel was well attended with perhaps the most distinguished
guest in the audience being Norris Houghton.
The annual "Lager Mir" (Peace Camp), a Russian camp in which a goodly number of
students and faculty participate at Camp Overlook, in the mountains bordering Virginia
and West Virginia, took place from 26-28 September 1980. Among the participants were
Institute members, Joseph Troncale and Leo Hecht. Joe was good enough to teach us
some of the songs of balladeer and poet Bulat Okudzhava. If you remember, this is the
man after whom the figure of the poet in Ascent of Mount Fuji was allegedly patterned.
We also sang some of the songs of Vladimir Vysotskii, another folk singer/poet, and
one of the most beloved stage and screen actors in the USSR. You may remember that
Alma Law showed us some slides depicting him in the title role of the Taganka Theatre's
production of Hamlet. You most probably heard that he died last summer at the age
of 41 and that a good deal of the Russian population went into mourning. Even in the
United States his passing did not go unnoticed. In Washington, D.C., for example, the
U.S. Association of Friends of the Periodical Kontinent arranged a memorial evening of
Vystoskii's poetry and songs at the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church on Nov. 23, 1980 .
Glenn Pierce, Central Missouri State University, will be offering a new course
this Winter Quarter, titled: "Contemporary Soviet Society as Seen Through its Plays . "
The course will be taught by Dr. Pierce, who will concern himself with contemporary
Soviet plays; a geographer, who will lecture on the physical realities of the USSR;
a political scientist, who will concern himself with Soviet government; and a humanities
librarian who will lecture on religion and literature in the Soviet Union. Glenn
informs us that about twenty-five students have already registered, and that he is
receiving a great deal of encouragement from the other departments.
Joe Troncale of the University of Richmond has received approval to introduce
a new course on "Russian Culture and Civilization" in the Spring of 1981. The course
will, of course, include a section on Soviet and Russian theatre and drama. Five
lectures are to be given by visiting faculty as an ingredient of this course.
more . . .
NEWSNOTES/January 1981
Leo Hecht, George Mason University, will be giving a course in Russian Theatre
and Drama next fall. He has been given encouragement by the Department of Performing
Arts that this course will be cross-listed and accredited for drama majors .
Members of the Institute will constitute a separate panel at the next SETC on
Saturday, March 7, 1981, in Orlando, Florida:
TITLE: A survey of Soviet and Polish Drama since World War II
CHAIR: Philip G. Hill, Department of Drama, Furman University
1. " Social and Political Conditions in the USSR." Leo Hecht,
Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures, George Mason University.
2. "Soviet Plays and Playwrights . " Jay Raphael, Dept. of Drama,
University of Virginia.
3. "Post-War Social and Political Conditions in Poland . " Joseph
Troncale, Dept. of Modern Foreign Languages, University of Richmond.
4. "Polish Plays and Playwrights." Philip G. Hill.
5. "Bibliography: Where to Obtain Scripts." Thomas Jones, Dept. of
Speech and Theatre, University of South Carolina at Conway.
The University of Florida, Gainesville, will hold its annual Comparative Drama
Conference on March S-7, 1981. Leo Hecht is scheduled to read a paper on censorship.
The Exhibition of Polish and Soviet Theatre Posters that was presented at the
Graduate Center in New York last summer as a part of the Institute program is now
travelling. In November it was at Trinity University in San Antonio where it was
shown in conjunction with Andrei Sedrik's production of the Hungarian play, Catsplay.
During January it will be at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, and
from there it goes to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Later in the
year it will also travel to Wichita State University and to Bemidji State University
in Bemidji, Minnesota. Anyone interested in having the exhibition come to their campus
should contact the Institute. There is also a catalog available containing black and
white reproductions of the seventy posters in the exhibition. It can be obtained by
mail from the Institute for $2.50 to cover postage and handling.
Sergei Paradjanov is certainly one of the world's great film directors. His
film, "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors," which has won prizes at sixteen major interna-
tional film festivals, was shown at the Institute last summer. The excellence of the
film is even more to be marvelled at when one considers that Paradjanov was creating
a Ruthenian (Huzul, Western Ukranian) folk epic which was quite remote from his own
national origin and experiences. Paradjanov, whose real name is Sarkis Paradianian,
is an Armenian poet-artist from Tbilisi, Georgia. His second great film, "The Color
of Pomegranates," is a masterpiece about the life of Sayat Nova, an 18th century
Armenian poet-musician, and is filled with Armenian folklore and cultural wealth. It
is a fascinating film full of symbolism and surrealism and a delight to the eye and
mind. Some of the nationalistic (Armenian) symbolism caused the film to be severely
censored before its brief showing in the Soviet Union in 1971. A copy of the film made
its way to Iran in the early seventies where it was again severely censored. Neverthe-
less, despite its decimation, it is still an artistic masterpiece. In October the
Armenian community of greater Washington, D.C. arranged for a private showing of the
film in the Theater of the National Archives. The small group which saw it included
several governmental luminaries such as Brzezinski. (It was also presented at the
New York Film Festival in October.) The copy which we saw belongs to Herbert Marshall,
more ...
NEWSNOTES/January 1981
author of The Pictorial History of the Russ ian Theatre, who also lectured on Paradjanov.
Among other things, Marshall informed us that Paradjanov is forbidden to involve him-
self in any way in the film industry and has also been removed from the list of
publishable poets. He is presently in exile in his native Tbilisi where he is vege-
tating and "writing for the drawer." The Armenian community in the United States is
now attempting to induce the Soviet authorities to permit Paradj anov '.s emigration to
this country. Paradjanov is in his middle fifties.
L.H .
NEWS OF THE MOSCOW THEATRE: Thanks to the Olympics, the season started late
this year. But by October there was already plenty to keep even the most avid theatre-
goer busy. If there was any problem, it was in getting tickets, not in finding something
worth seeing . Tickets are never easy to come by in Moscow, but this season everyone was
especially vocal about the incredible ''boom" making it almost impossible to get into
even the second string theatres.
At the Taganka, Lyubimov's most recent production, The House on the Embankment,
based on Trifonov's novel of betrayal under Stalinist terror, is playing to packed houses .
The theatre, still in a of shock over Vysotskii's death, is currently preparing a
production, Death of a Poet, dedicated to him. They are also starting a museum and
would welcome any materials published in this country on the Taganka and/or Vysotskii.
Victor Rozov's most recent play, The Nest of the Woodgrouse, a revealing picture
of a top-level bureaucrat in Moscow who is suddenly confronted by a series of setbacks
that shatter his comfortable world, has finally made its long overdue Moscow debut in
a splendid production by Valentin Pluchek at the Satire Theatre. Pluchek says that he
tried to present the play in the style of the old Moscow Art Theatre, without the
histrionics and "stage effects" that have become traditional in his productions.
New at Obratsov's Central Puppet Theatre is a production of Evgeny Shvarts '
The Dragon. Roshchin's Hurry to Do Good is on at the Centemporary Theatre, and
at the Lenin Komsomol, there's a megadecible production of Arbuzov's Cruel Games,
a drama about disaffected youth.
Ladies' Tailor, a play about the Jews in Kiev just before the Nazi massacre at
Babi Yar also performed briefly in October in a production by a small Jewish theatrical
group. The play, in Russian, is by Aleksandr Borshchagovsky (b. 1913) who is better
known for his historical novels and movie scenarios. (See the review in the New York
Times, Oct. 16, 1980).
Tennessee Williams, always popular in the Soviet theatre, is everywhere. The
Rose Tattoo is in rehearsal at the Moscow Art, where Sweet Bird of Youth has been play-
ing for several years. You can also see A Streetcar Named Desire at the Mayakovsky
Theatre, a campy version of Kingdom of Earth at the Mossoviet, and at the Theatre for
Young Spectators, ":a new production of The Glass Menagerie. And this season, Anatoly
Efros has staged Summer and Smoke, marking his first attempt at directing an American
play. It's an uneven production, and the mixture of clothing styles from different
periods is certain to irritate an American. Nevertheless, it's well-worth seeing as
an interesting attempt by Efros to move in new directions following his work at the
Guthrie in Minneapolis.
Efros ' recent production of The Road, an adaptation of Gogol's Dead Souls by
B. Baliasnyi, which combines the novel with Gogol's letters and other writings, is also
in repertory at the Malaya Bronnaya Theatre. Mikhail Kazakov makes a wonderful Gogol
and there are some brilliant performances by Efros' other regulars: Yakovlevna as
Korobochka, Volkov as Lev Durov as Nozdrev, and Dmitrieva as Plyushkin.
more ...
NEWSNOTES/January 1981 6
In September, hhe Rustaveli Theatre from Tbilisi pai d its first visit to Moscow in
four years, and as always it was a smashing success. The forty-year-old Chief Director ,
Robert Sturua, has created an ensemble and repertory that have made this theatre world
famous. They've been everywhere in recent years from Mexico to Edinburgh and London,
and after Moscow, they were off to Greece. In addition to their Caucasian Chalk Circle,
which has been in the repertory for several seasons, Sturua also showed his new pro-
duction of Richard III with its extraordinary battle scene in which Richard (played by
Ramaz Chkhikvadze, who has been dubbed the Olivier of the Caucasus) and Richmond put
their heads and arms through a huge map of ;:Britain and slash away at it . The big sensa-
tion, though, was the theatre's production of Mikhail Shatrov's Blue Horses on Red
Grass, a kind of docudrama about one day in the life of Lenin. For his somewhat
heretical production (which was shown only once in Moscow) Sturua i ntroduces no less
than three Lenins, a conception that might be acceptable in Tbilisi, but as it turned
out , certainly was not in Moscow.
One of the hottest tickets in town, especially among teenage gi rls who strongly
identify with the young heroine, is Radzinsky's controversial new play, She in the
Absence of Love and Death, now at the Mayakovsky Theatre. In spite of its abortive
ending, this is very good theatre with marvelous performances by Doronina and
Nemolayeva in the roles of the Mother and her Girlfriend.
A.H.L .
NEWS OF THE POLISH THEATRE: New productions in Poland this season include
Ibsen's An Enemy of the People at Zygmunt Hubner's Powszechny Teatr; a revival of
Przybyszewska's play about the French Revolution, The Danton Affair, at
the Ateneum; and the premiere of Hanna Krall's To Steal a March on God (about the
destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto), directed by Kazimierz Dejmek i n There have
also been a number of new plays dealing with nineteenth-century Polish
history, such as Jerzy Zurek's 100 Hands, 100 Stilettos , Bohdan Urbankowski's
Mochnacki--Dreams of the Fatherland, and Jerzy Sito 's Polonaise (about Poles at the
court of Catherine the Great). Soviet plays recently staged in Poland are Bulgakov's
Moliere, Mayakovsky's The Bedbug, and Radzinsky's Lunin. Mrozek's latest
play, On Foot, dealing with the beginning of World War II and, in fictional form,
the last days of Stanis?aw Ignacy Witkiewicz, has been published in Dialog, but not
yet performed . Tadeusz Kantor's newest work for the theatre, the autobiographical
Wielopole, Wielopole, has been presented in Florence, London, and elsewhere in Europe.
D. C.G.
An excellent source of materials on Soviet and Polish drama, theatre, and the
arts is Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881. The following are
a few examples from their most recent catalog:
London, Kurt.
(London, 1937). xi, 381 pp., illus., ports.
LC 70-109773. I SBN 0-8371 ... 4263-6 . LOSA $18.25
"There is no questioning the truth of Dr.
London's assertions. He knows Russia
intimately and is far too devoted to the
arts for his sincerity to be doubted.
--Canadian Forum
Markov, Pavel Aleksandrovich.
(The New Soviet Library, 3).
(London, 1934) 176 pp., illus.
LC 78-12536. ISBN 0-313-2064 7-3. MASTH $19 . SO
A survey prepared at the request of a
Western publisher but prepared in the
Soviet Union by the former drama critic
of Pravda and Izvestia .
more . ..
NEWSNOTES/January 1981
Sayler, Oliver Martin.
(New York, 192S). xvi, 240 pp., illus.,
plan, ports.
LC 70-100213 . ISBN 0- 8371-4014-S. SAMA $17. SO
"This very industrious, thorough and seri-
ous author has made a book which is full
of instruction on the whole subject of the
relation of the Russian experiments to the
stream of art and the philosophy which
attempts to correlate art with life."
--New York Times
Gorchakov, Nikolai Mikhailovich.
Virginia Stevens, translation editor.
Foreward by Norris Houghton.
(New York, ,19S4). 402 pp.
LC73-1S243. ISBN 0-8371-7164-4 GOSD $18 .SO
"An enormously valuable record of the
exact directorial methods of the greatest
stage director of the 20th century.
Highly recommended for all theater and
drama collections." --Library Journal
Magarshack, David.
(New York, 19SO). vii, 414 pp., illus.,
LC 74-2SS8. ISBN 0-8371-7416-3. MASU $24 . 00
"This full-length biography has been made
possible by the recent publication in Mos-
cow of a large collection of documents ... "
--Times (London] Literary Supplement
Lyons, Eugene (ed.).
SIX SOVIET PLAYS. Tr. from the Russian
with preface by Elmer Rice.
(Boston, 1934). v, 468 pp ., illus.
LC 68-8937. ISBN 0-8371-0154-9. LYPS $18. 7S
Content s: Days of the Turbins, by Michael
Bulgakov; Squaring the Circle, by Valen-
tine Katayev; Tempo, by Nikolai Pogodin;
Bread, by Vladimir Kirshon; Inga by Ana-
tole Glebov; Fear, by Alexander Afinogenyev.
SEVEN SOVIET PLAYS. Field Marshal Kutuzov
by Vladimir Solovyov; The Orchards of
Polovchansk by Leonid Leonov; On the Eve
by Alexander Afinogenov; Smoke of the
Fatherland by the Tur Brothers and L.
Sheinin; Engineer Sergeyev by Vsevolod
Rokk; The Russian People by Konstantin
Simonov; The Front by Alexander Korneichuk.
With introductions by H. W. L. Dana.
(New York, 1946) . xi, S20 pp.
LC 78-21619. ISBN 0-313-2078S-2. SSPL $29. SO
Slowacki, Juliusz.
ANHELLI. Tr. from the Polish by Dorothea
Prall Radin. Edited with an introduction
by George Rapall Noyes.
(London, 1930). 118 pp.
LC 78-21S48. ISBN 0-313-20828-X. SLAN $13.00
This strange , symbolic story of Anhelli,
the man-angel who suffered and died in
Poland, is told in the simple and powerful
language of the Old Testament . It deals
with the sufferings and miseries of the
oppressed Poles and with the ultimate
destinies of Poland. It is an imaginative
fantasy and an example of beautiful and
austere poetic prose.
Slowacki, Juliusz.
MARY STUART, A Romantic Drama. Tr. from
the Polish by Arthur Prudden Coleman and
Marion Moore .
(Schenectady, N.Y., 1937) . 106 pp.
LC 74-11993. ISBN 0-8371-7712-X SLMS $12. 7S
This is a piece of poetic pr0se in five
acts and many scenes. Its action takes
place between the autumn of 1S6S, when
Mary revoked from her husband Henry
Darnley the right inherent in the Crown
Matrimonial, and the night of Darnley's
murder, Feb. 9, 1S67.
Kridl, Manfred (ed.)
SYMPOSIUM. With a foreword by Ernest J.
(New York, 19Sl). xii, 292 pp., illus.,
LC 7S-90S40. ISBN 0-8371-2783-1. KRAM $13.00
Distinguished writers' comments on the
national poet of Poland in a tribute to
the anniversary of the poet's birth in
more .. .
NEWSNOTES/January 1981
Lednicki, Waclaw (ed.).
(Berkeley, 1956). xvi, 626 pp., illus.,
LC 76-2017 . ISBN 08371-8765-6. LEAM $35.25
A collection of essays on the great Polish
writer, his relationships with various
literatures of the Old world and the New,
and his role and destiny in those litera-
tures. The book traces Mickiewicz's
travels and his place, through transla-
tion, in Hebrew, Chinese, Russian and
Indo-European literatures .
Krasinski, Zygmunt, hrabia
THE UN-DIVINE COMEDY. Tr. by Harriette E.
Kennedy and Zofia Uminska. Preface by G.K.
Chesterton. Introduction by Artur Gorski.
(London), 1924). xvii, 111 pp.
LC 74-5774. ISBN 0-8371-7513-5 KRUD $11.75
I would also like to call your attention to a distributor of books from Eastern
Europe : "Imported Publications, Inc.," 320 West Ohio Street, Chicago, IL 60610 . This
firm specializes in books on government, history and philosophy, but also has depart-
ments in the fine and performing arts, and in literature. The following books ' are
from their most recent catalog:
Gorky, M., PLAYS. Includes "The Lower
Depths," "Summer Folk," "Yegor
Bulychov and Others" and "Vassa Zhelez-
nova." (SU) 0980-8
181653 Cloth 373 pp. $ 4.80
Gorky, M., Mayakovsky, V., et. al,
plays, with a concluding essay, How They
Were Staged, with photos and additional
material illuminating Soviet theatrical
history. (SU) 1727-4
182401 Cloth 829 pp. $12.50
# # #
Ostrovsky, A. N., PLAYS. Four plays by
the great author-producer-director who
laid the groundwork for the founding
of a Russian national theatre.
(SU) 1017-2
180816 Cloth 485 pp. $ 4.80