Russian Theater on the Eve of Revolution

ChekhovTheater in Russia has always been involved, albeit indirectly,
in the social and political life of the country. We can
find the best reflection of that in Russian drama of the
late nineteenth and early twentieth century. During that
critical period in Russian history, theater achieved a highly
prominent place in the social consciousness. We will read
and discuss plays by three leading playwrights of that time
and examine the practices of great reformists of theater—
Konstantin Stanislavsky, Alexander Tairov, and Vsevolod
Meyerhold—and their extensive influence on European
and American theater.
The course will consist of four two-hour sessions. The
first session will be devoted to general overview of Russia’s
history, culture, and political climate in the nineteenth
century. The following three sessions will each be devoted
to one playwright in the following order: Nicolai Gogol
(The Inspector General), Alexander Ostrovsky (Too Clever
by Half), and Anton Chekhov (The Seagull). We will analyze
their plays, read short scenes, and discuss the practical aspects and
challenges they pose for directors and actors. Required readings: the
three plays mentioned above.

Instructor: Jaroslaw Strzemien

Four Mondays: March 19, 26, April 2, 9
Wasch Center Butterfield Room
Class limited to 20 students

Jaroslaw Strzemien
JAROSLAW STRZEMIEN is a graduate of Polish Drama Studio in acting and has an MFA from Yale School of Drama in directing. He has been a professional actor and director in Poland, France, and the United States. For 30 years, he was a professor of theater at the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University. He was a Fulbright scholar and currently works as a translator of American drama, an acting coach, and a stage director.