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Vsevold E. Meyerhold

Vsevolod Emil'evich Meyerhold (1864 - 1940) was one of the most innovative directors and theatrical teachers of the '900.

Student of Nemirovich-Danchenko, from 1898 was one of the first actors of Theater of Art of Stanislavskij. Memorable is his interpretation of Trepev in "The gull" and of Ivan the Terrible at the drama with the same name of Tolstoj.

Separating from the realistic conception of the theatre, in favor of stylized and abstract production that can correspond to the new symbolized texts he leaves the Theater of Art and founding a proper company begin to work in a province like a director.

Turning back to Saint Petersburg, like a director, first in Studio of the Theater of Art, than Komissarjevskaja company and at the and at Imperial Theater, began the constant research on the art of an actor, dedicating himself to the study of the numerous traditional oriental and occidental performative arts.

In 1920, with the performance "The magnificent horned", Meyerhold makes known to the Russian artistic world the product of his search work, taking to the scene the actors that "educated" in the way to use the proper expressive potential, could enrich and give a body to all different shades and nuances of meaning.
He called his system of theatrical education The Theatrical Biomechanics, because this gives to actors the concrete instrument that help to resolve the technical problems of the scene.

The Meyerhold Theater, with scandals and censures works continuously till 1938 taking to a scene texts of Erdman, Ostrovskij, Fajko, Gogol', Majakovskij, Chechov and collaborated with the famous artists of the soviet vanguard (Popova, Malevich, Prokof'ev, Shostakovich).

After a long period of continuous fights with the censure, at 1939 the  Meyerhold Theatre was closed and the director himself, fallen into disgrace, first was arrested then tortured and after the brief process was executed like a spy.

He was the first among the directors that supported the Revolution, always the first in a politic scenario (takes for a short period the post of the vice commissary of the nation for the culture), angry critic of the NEP of Lenin and after also of the Stalin regime, he was all his life the supporter of the utopia idea of the revolution that should change totally the society including the theatre.

In spite of his work of publicizing with the theatre the message of the revolution he wasn't able to defend himself from the accuse in spying of the Stalinism.
After his death, Sergej Ejzenstejn, one of his most excellent students, kept jealously, in his archives, some documents saved from the destruction of the political police. The name of Meyerhold was declared illegal till 1955, when, after the Stalin death, his name was rehabilitated.

Work with the name of Meyerhold in Soviet Union for a long period of time remains taboo. The wall was abolished at '70 with the work of K. Rudnitskij and V.Plucek. Rudnitskij began to put in order and published numerous notes and scenografy of the director kept in the archives (the work that till now takes ahead french researcher Beatrice Picon-Vallin). Plucek invited at the Theater of Satire of Moscow for the first time after 34 years after the closing down of the company and the school of the Meyerhold Theatre, the teacher of theatrical biomechanics the Master Nikolaj Kustov.

In west countries together with numerous scientists that made famous historically the work of Meyerjold (remember in Italy Angelo Maria Ripellino and Fausto Malcovati), versions of the Theatrical Biomechanics, imported from the notes of Lee Strasberg, was appeared filtrated and extremely partial and incomplete at the end of '60 with the Living Theatre of Julian Beck and after at the end of '70 with the reconstruction from the notes and photos of Mel Gordon.

Only at '90 after the fall of Soviet Union, the Master Gennadi Bogdanov, the direct student of Master Kustov and his artistic heir, have made known to the entire world the global pedagogical process invented by Meyerhold, explaining and correct the mistaken interpretations, showing the things that notes and observations cannot describe.

The will of Meyerhold was to invent a new theatrical tradition, like millenaries of the Asian theatres. That is why he never right down systematically about his pedagogy because of his fear of mistaken or superficial interpretations and of persons "good for nothing" that could teach others even if they never by themselves tried it and used it like a unique basis for their art of actors.

For his remarkable talent like director and a teacher, Meyerhold is a subject of study at universities and research centers of the world, considerate by the theatrical world like a foundation of contemporary theatre together with Stanislavskij. 


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