Nikolai Evreinov and Edith Craig as Mediums of Modernist Sensibility

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Abstract / Description of output

Nikolai Evreinov (1870-1953) was a Russian playwright, director, and theorist of the theatre who played a leading part in the modernist movement of Russian theatre. Evreinov's 1911 monodrama The Theatre of the Soul (V kulisakh dushi) was staged by the Crooked Mirror theatre in St Petersburg in 1912. It was also performed in London (1915) and Rome (1929), and inspired Man Ray to create his aerograph The Theatre of the Soul (1917). In this article Alexandra Smith links Evreinov's play to Russian modernist thought shaped by the atmosphere of crisis associated with the Russo-Japanese War and the first Russian Revolution. It demonstrates that Edith Craig's production of Evreinov's play suggests that the philosophy of theatricalization of everyday life might enable modern subjects to overcome the fragmentation of modern society. Craig's use of the montage-like techniques of Evreinov's play prefigures cinematographic experiments of the 1920s and Marinetti's notion of synthetic theatre. Alexandra Smith is a Reader in Russian Studies at the University of Edinburgh and is the author of The Song of the Mockingbird: Pushkin in the Works of Marina Tsvetaeva (1994) and Montaging Pushkin: Pushkin and Visions of Modernity in Russian Twentieth-Century Poetry (2006), as well as numerous articles on Russian literature and culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-216
Number of pages14
JournalNew theatre quarterly
Issue number103
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


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