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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 17 | volume III | October-November, 2000



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 17October-November, 2000
Theatre Theory

Pure Play

(The bio-mechanical system of Vsevolod Emilevich Meyerhold)


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p. 1
Mišel Pavlovski

    The bio-mechanical system of Vsevolod Emilevich Meyerhold can be defined not only as a system for the basic grounding of actors and stage articulation, but also (although not quite finalised, is still well enough set out) of a global theatrical system. In connection with this, one should bear in mind the opinion stated by Aleksey Aleksandrovich Gvozdev, who, when speaking about a theatrical system, refers to it as the “relationship between dramaturgy, stage, actor's performance and the spectators.” Coming in between the interaction of these four elements: stage area, audience, actor's performance and dramatic substance, followed by the theatre director with his role as an innovative power to elevate all these elements, one can find the main features of the creative work ofVsevolod Emilevich, and in the same scope, the theory of biomechanics.Among the first theoretical and practical innovations which Meyerhold introduced through his text as a theatre director, is the re-structuring of the stage, deconstruction of the stage area and the abandonment of the concept of “a box without the fourth wall”. His reformation of the stage begins with the approach to style, published during his period at the Theater-Studio. This stylisation leads Meyerhold to the “arrangement of the stage with flat surfaces”, specifically, to eliminate the scenery and present the actor, as a pricipal mechanism for theatrical expression, as the “setting”. This is the beginning of the deconstruction of the stage space, inherited from the old theatre, the theatre called by Aleksey Gvozdev “a theatre of the Renaissance”, which, apart from anything else, encourages the box-stage idea. The de-structuring of the stage made Meyerhold take an interest in theatrical systems which had abandoned the box-stage, more precisely, in the theater of the pre-Renaissance period, mainly the Spanish theater, commedia dell'arte and, certainly, the ancient theater: “If the Conditional theater prefers the destruction of decorations […], despises ramps […], isn't that theater leading to the resurrection of the theater from antiquity? Yes, it is. The ancient theater, judging by its architecture, is a theatre which contains everything necessary to our contemporary theatre: it has no decorations, the space is in three dimensions. The ancient theater with its simplicity, with its auditorium in the shape of a horse-shoe, with its orchestra, is a unique theater which can be used for a varied repertoire: Fairground Booth of Blok, The Life of Man of Andreyev, the tragedies of Maeterlinck…”
    The disarrangement of the






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