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Nikolaj G. Kustov

Nikolaj Gheorghevic Kustov (1900?-1976), collaborator of Vsevolod Emil'evic Meyerhold, was one of those that went in deep in Theatrical Biomechanics and took in possession in the most expressive manner its tradition on technical level, but also on the scene.

We don't know in details his biography, but his role in pedagogy and production of theatrical biomechanics is relevant.

He collaborated together with the Russian director from the birth of the Meyerhold Theatre at 1920 till it was closed in 1938.

At the end of '20 he was entrusted of being a new teacher of Theatrical Biomechanics of Meyerhold during the studying process of the students-actors at the same theatre. The hypothesis was formed that for this reason he is rarely present in the performances that Meyerhold made in those years.
Escaped from the massacre of Stalin in '40, remain in Soviet Union, preferring secluded life in province to a certain success at theatre (on the condition that he renounce the connection with Meyerhold and "forget" everything). He continued to develop the pedagogy of Theatrical Biomechanics by himself and with a small groups of young actors not professionals for 30 years.

At 1972, when he was old, he was called by artistic director and first director of Theater of Satire of Moscow Valentine Plucek (actor of the last period of Meyerhold and a cousin of Peter Brook) to teach on daily basis the system of Meyerhold to a group of voluntaries of young actors of the company.

Perfectionist and an excellent teacher, for 4 years worked hardly to transmit the methodology of the system to those students of the company that chosen to follow him, with the intention to individualize a student to whom he can entrust all the principles and pedagogical aims of the system (still nowadays hidden are transmitted from master to master) and that can be capable to follow and develop his work.

When he died unexpectedly, in august of 1976, his most assiduous student, Gennadi Nikolaevic Bogdanov, heredities the responsibility to keep alive the tradition of theatrical Biomechanics of Meyerhold.
The mysterious figure of Master Kustov is very important because connects Meyerhold with the contemporary life and it is an important person for the chain of tradition of the Theatrical Biomechanics.
Nowadays the research work is made in order to verify the effective development of the system by Master Kustov between 1938 and 1976.

Undoubtedly, remains his authority and his relations with Meyerhold and its pedagogy, confirmed by the photo made by Lee Strasberg at '30 that retract him in some forms of Etude of shooting with a bow on the beach. Together with some photos of performances, those were for years, in west countries, unique visual testimony of the art and of the research work of Meyerhold.


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