The Meyerhold Theater

Just now I was sorting out some photos for the post on Alexander Grinberg on my other site. There were some photos stored on my computer from dancer Maria Peschanaya, who was used in a photo study on movement by Alexander Grinberg. Maria was a dancer for the Meyerhold Theater, around 1920.
This theater was founded by Vsevolod Emilevich Meyerhold, a Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatrical producer. His provocative experiments dealing with physical being and symbolism in an unconventional theatre setting made him one of the seminal forces in modern international theatre. During the Great Purge, Meyerhold was arrested, tortured and executed in February 1940.

Biomechanics was a system of actor training, developed by Meyerhold. Its purpose was to widen the emotional potential of a theater piece and express thoughts and ideas that could not be easily presented through the naturalistic theater of the period.The techniques of biomechanics were developed during the rehearsals of a series of plays directed by Meyerhold in the 1920s and 1930s when Socialist Realism was at its height in Russia. Biomechanics is a precursor to and influence on much of the 20th century’s physical theatre.

Alexander Grinberg was fascinated by this system, and photographed Maria Peschanaya performing this.

Meyerhold,Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde is part of a series of six documentary films about the Russian avant-garde of the 1920s and 30s. Michael Craig is a documentary film maker living and working in Moscow.

He moved to Moscow twelve years ago to make films and write. Over the past few years he has been working on a documentary series about the Russian avant-garde with locations in Russia, Germany and Japan. A 10 minute excerpt from Michael’s documentary, Meyerhold, Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde, is included below.

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