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Theatre Books
Vsevolod Meyerhold * books page

Improvisation for the Theater: A Handbook of Teaching and Directing Techniques by Viola Spolin; Northwestern University Press, 1963 - Theory and Foundation - I. Creative Experience - Ii. Workshop Procedures - Exercises: The Workshop Sessions in This Section Can Be Used in Progressive Sequence. - Iii. Orientation - Iv. Where - V. Acting with the Whole Body - Vi. Non-Directional Blocking - Vii. Refining Awareness - Viii. Speech, Broadcasting, And Technical Effects - Ix. Developing Material for Situations - X. Rounding-Out Exercises - Xi. Emotion - Xii. Character - Children and the Theater - Xiii. Understanding the Child - Xiv. Fundamentals for the Child Actor - Xv. Workshop for Six-To-Eight-Year-Olds - Formal Theater And Improvisational Theater - Xvi. Preparation - Xvii. Rehearsal and Performance - Xviii. Post-Mortem and Special Problems

In Russian:


... . I. . 1896-1903. - . . . .: , 1998. 744 .

... : 1918-1919. ... ... .. ... ..,.., .., ... .: , 2001. - 280 .

, . . . .-.: -, . .: , 2001. - 512 .

. .2: . .-. ... .: , 2000. - 768 .

* Michail Chekhov, master-teacher in Acting I?

Chekhov writes in his book To the Actor: the real task of the creative artist is not merely to copy the outer appearance of life, to interpret life in all its facets and profoundness, to show what is behind the phenomena of life, to let the spectator look beyond life's surfaces and meanings.

Chekhov answered to his Lithuanian student, Kasimiera Kymantaite: Why is it that I am wandering around the world? I want to hand over a small key to the magic of the theatre.

Twentieth-Century Theatre: A Sourcebook by Richard Drain; Routledge, 1995 [questia]

Commedia Dell'arte: An Actor's Handbook by John Rudlin; Routledge, 1994

The inspirational actor is content to rely exclusively on his own mood. He refuses to bend his will to the discipline of technique. The inspirational actor proudly claims to have rekindled the flame of improvisation in the theatre. In his naïveté he imagines that his improvisations have something in common with the improvisations of traditional Italian comedy. He does not realise the improvisations of commedia dellarte have a firm basis of faultless technique. The inspirational actor totally rejects technique of any kind. Technique hinders creative freedom is what he always says. MEYERHOLD

To the Actor: On the Technique of Acting by Michael Chekhov, Nicolai Remisoff; Harper & Row, 1953 - Chapter 1: The Actor's Body and Psychology - Chapter 2: Imagination and Incorporation of Images - Chapter 3: Improvisation and Ensemble - Chapter 4: The Atmosphere and Individual Feelings - Chapter 5: The Psychological Gesture - Chapter 6: Character and Characterization - Chapter 7: Creative Individuality - Chapter 8: Composition of the Performance - Chapter 9: Different Types of Performances - Chapter 10 How to Approach the Part

At Work with Grotowski on Physical Actions by Thomas Richards; Routledge, 1995

Design for Movement: A Textbook on Stage Movement by Lyn Oxenford; Theatre Arts Books, 1952 - Part One The Individual - Chapter II The Character Displayed - Chapter III Overtones and Influences - Chapter IV Period and Stylised Movement - Chapter V Exercise and Experiment - Part Two The Crowd - Chapter VII Stylised Crowd Scenes - Chapter VIII Everyday Crowds - Chapter IX Religious Drama - Chapter X Dances in Drama

Mask Characterization: An Acting Process by Libby Appel; Southern Illinois University Press, 1982 - Part 1: The Instructor's Guide - Encounter: Meeting the Mask - Discovery: Opening and Stretching the Actor - Development: Finding the Character - Extension: Layering and Broadening the Character - Part 2: The Actor's Guide

The Nature of Expertise in Professional Acting: A Cognitive View by Helga Noice, Tony Noice; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997 - Training for the Profession - 2: Psychological Research into Actors' Mental Processes - 3: Experimental Investigation of Actors' Learning Strategies - 4: Cued Recall Task - 5: The Summarization Task and Posttest Statements of Strategy - 6: A Professional Actor Prepares a Role: A Think-Aloud Protocol - 7: More Think-Aloud Protocols - 8: A Mnemonist's Approach to Script Learning - 9: The Benefits of Script Segmentation - 10: Continuing the Quest - 11: A General Model of Acting Cognition - 12: Other Investigations of Actors and Acting

The Pursuit of Acting: Working Actors Share Their Experience and Advice by Starra Andrews; Praeger, 1998

Secrets of Screen Acting by John Stamp, Patrick Tucker; Routledge, 2003 - Chapter 1: Screen Versus Stage - Chapter 2: Film Versus Television - Chapter 3: The Frame - Chapter 4: The Camera - Chapter 5: Reactions and Business - Chapter 6: Sound and Vocal Levels - Chapter 7: Typecasting - Chapter 8: Acting - Chapter 9: Auditions - Chapter 10: Rehearsals and Technicals - Chapter 11: Directing Actors for the Screen - Chapter 12: Announcers (And the Art of Being Interviewed) - Chapter 13: The Shoot - Chapter 14: The Editor and Editing - Epilogue

Playwrights and Acting: Acting Methodologies for Brecht, Ionesco, Pinter, and Shepard by James H. McTeague; Greenwood Press, 1994

... Bertolt Brecht was already an established playwright of international stature when he completed and published his Short Organum in 1948. He was a recognized iconoclast whose plays and theatrical statements took exception to the prevailing theatre of realism. He had advocated in his many observations radical changes in the form and aesthetic of the theatre and, because he was particularly concerned with the manner in which audiences perceived and experienced a play, he was necessarily concerned about acting. His views toward the actor and acting expressed in the Short Organum were met with violent opposition from supporters of the Stanistavsky system, while they were embraced by some who clearly failed to grasp critical aspects of Brecht's admittedly underdeveloped manifesto. [ Two. BERTOLT BRECHT ]

Twentieth-Century Theatre: A Sourcebook by Richard Drain; Routledge, 1995 [ ]

comedy scripts Monty Python's Flying Circus

Playing the Audience : The Practical Actor's Guide to Live Performance (Paperback) by James B. Nicola 155783492X


biblio biomechanics

Thanks to Amazon and Questia the "books" and "biblio" pages grew (no organization). I have them in every directory -- and perhaps, at some point I could get to writing my notes on the books I list... 2006?

Plus, translation of Russian sources?

What is the difference between "books" and "biblio"?

What about the references (new) page?

What about the titles (texts) in Russian? Summaries.
Moscow on the Potomac: Studio Theatre Takes a New Look at an Old Country Magazine article by Celia Wren; American Theatre, Vol. 22, March 2005

Meyerhold and His Set Designers by Marjorie L. Hoover. 276 pgs. out of print

The Theater of Meyerhold and Brecht by Katherine Bliss Eaton. 148 pgs.

"Vsevolod E. Meyerhold was born in Russia in 1874, the son of prosperous German parents. His career as a theatrical innovator began in 1903 and ended with his arrest in 1939. Well before the October Revolution, when Bertolt Brecht, the "Einstein of the new stage form," was still a boy, Meyerhold was known to St. Petersburg audiences as "the man with the new ideas." 1 Some of those ideas closely anticipated the theory and practice of Brecht. Most notable are those stylistic innovations used to destroy the realistic stage convention, such as film projections, posters which comment on or announce the action, interpolation of dances and songs, grotesque costuming, emphasis on stage movement and exaggerated gestures, abstract or highly simplified stage settings, and the training of actors as artistically and socially conscious performers. Beyond the fact that Brecht and Meyerhold were conditioned by the same revolutionary milieu, believed in a non-illusionistic art which serves humanity, and were attracted to similar elements in the traditional theaters of the Orient and the West, there were important historical connections which can illuminate any comparison of their dramatic theory and practice."

"Meyerhold's first attempt at non-representational staging occurred in 1903 with his production of Przybyszewski Snow and von Schnthan The Acrobats, staged by his own troupe, The Fellowship of the New Drama, a group he organized after his departure from the Moscow Art Theater in 1902.

In general, Meyerhold's experiments from 1903 to about 1908 represent his attempts to find methods of staging Symbolist drama. 2 The productions of his Symbolist period used colors, to establish a mood and symbolize the essence of a character or event, and music, to intensify that mood. It was a slow-motion theater of carefully orchestrated poses and ritualistic gestures, enacted upon a shallow stage against a flat, monotonal background which made the actors look like figures carved in low relief.

Meyerhold began to experiment consistently with new forms from 1905."

The fame of the German poet-playwright-director-theoretician Bertolt Brecht now surpasses the reputation of his older contemporary, the Russian director and theoretician Vsevolod Meyerhold. Yet this was not always the case. From the early years of the twentieth century until about 1940, Meyerhold was the most famous living theater worker in the West. The two ideas that form the basis of Brecht's theoretical work--the idea that a dramatic performance should be a fully conscious creation of all concerned (playwright, actors, directors, spectators) and the idea of theater as a force for social betterment--are found in Meyerhold's letters written in the late 1890s. This is not to say that he was the "inventor" of such concepts. These things were "in the air," as Piscator put it, and of course have a long history. But Meyerhold in his time surpassed his contemporaries in his ability to combine certain esthetic and political ideas and transfer them successfully to the stage.

Diderot in his Paradoxe sur le comdien ( 1773/78) pointed out that the stage does not and should not reflect nature and, for very practical reasons, opposed the emotional actor who identifies with a role. Empathy makes an actor give very unequal performances: "full of fire at the first performance, he would be worn out and cold as marble at the third." On the other hand, the actor who acts cold-bloodedly would always be at his best, because he would be working artfully. Where Brecht parted company with Diderot, however, was in the ultimate goal of such rational acting. The Encyclopedist believed that the purpose of a cool performance is to counterfeit emotion, the better to deceive the spectators and arouse in them emotions which the actors themselves do not feel.

The Director and the Stage: From Naturalism to Grotowski (includes "Meyerhold - The First Five Years"and "Meyerhold - Theater as Propaganda") by Edward Braun. 191 pgs.

An Acrobat of the Heart : A Physical Approach to Acting Inspired by the Work of Jerzy Grotowski (Vintage Original)
In An Acrobat of the Heart, teacher-director-playwright Stephen Wangh reveals how Jerzy Grotowski's physical exercises can open a pathway to the actor's inner creativity. Drawing on Grotowski's insights and on the work of Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, and others, Wangh bridges the gap between rigorous physical training and practical scene and character technique. Wangh's students give candid descriptions of their struggles and breakthroughs, demonstrating how to transform these remarkable lessons into a personal journey of artistic growth.

Performance as Political Act: The Embodied Self (includes information on Meyerhold's Carnival) by Randy Martin. 211 pgs.

The Soviet Theatre by P. A. Markov. 176 pgs.

Russian Theater from the Empire to the Soviets by Marc Slonim. 342 pgs. *

The Russian Theatre (includes "Meyerhold and the Theater Theatrical") by Oliver M. Sayler. 346 pgs.

Directors on Directing: A Source Book of the Modern Theater by Toby Cole, Helen Chinoy Krich. 464 pgs.

Theatrical Directors: A Biographical Dictionary by John W. Frick, Stephen M. Vallillo. 574 pgs.

"I also met German writers, including Brecht, sensitive and astute. He talked about death, about Meyerhold's productions, about agreeable trifles." Ilya Ehrenburg, Memoirs: 1921-1941

The Fall and Rise of Meyer Holo
Magazine article by David Chambers, Nikolai Pesochinsky; American Theatre, Vol. 17, January 2000

"The Meyerhold Project is a co-venture between the Yale School of Drama and the St. Petersburg Academy of Theatre Arts in Russia. Begun in 1995, the project is dedicated to reawakening the tragically silenced voice of Vsevolod Meyerhold, the brilliant theatre artist who is arguably the greatest stage director of the 20th century. Rightfully compared to Picasso, Meyerhold was little known in the West, and after his Stalin-ordered execution in 1940, his name was deleted from the artistic record... "

Meyerhold does not believe in scenic realism. What good is it to reproduce the life on scene? It is necessary to put before the THEATRICALNESS OF the THEATRE , to create a universe independent of reality, a world of signs to which the public gives direction! It preaches a STYLIZED PLAY which, instead of imitating the life, proposes an interpretation of it.

The witness accepts the codes of theatrical convention, while being always conscious that it is with the theatre. It is what Meyerhold calls the THEATRE OF CONSCIOUS CONVENTION.


Since the creative inspiration does not flood the actor miraculeusement every evening at 8 hours, it is necessary RELIABLE TOOLS for him on which to support its play!

This is why Meyerhold proposes to build the play on something of concrete: PHYSICAL ACTIONS. That requires that the actor knows his body extremely well, and it reaches that point thanks to biomechanics.


Meyerhold considers the actor as a workman who must be most effective possible. It joined in that the principles of Taylorism, theory aiming at the labour productivity. The body is a mechanics which the actor must learn how to know and control, to give to its play solid physical anchorings. If the emotion occurs later on, so much better, but it is not necessary! Any psychological state is conditioned by physiological processes. If the actor knows what it does, then the witness includes/understands what it sees.


N = A1 + A2

Actor (N) = Constructor (A1) which gives orders to its material, the body (A2)

The body of the actor is the puppet of his spirit!

THE CONSTRUCTIVISM: Theatre in Revolution: Russian Avant-Garde Stage Design, 1913-1935

Artistic current which preaches the scientific and plastic bases of art, like its social role. The decorations of Meyerhold, truffés of scaffolding and gears, are an eloquent example. The scene is a large machine whose actor exploits the multiple possibilities, vêtu of the overall of work meyerholdienne: the prozadejda


Theatricalness is born from the grotesque one, i.e. of the tension between the opposites, contrast between the familiar one and the strange one, the ugly one and sublimates it. Tragedy and comic at the same time, the grotesque one is what makes it possible to transform into one moment a funeral procession presses some in festival. Meyerhold raffole of the dynamics which it generates!

This theatre isn't it likely formal and to be deprived of emotions?

MEYERHOLD : On the contrary! The emotion is not the base of the play, but it can emerge freely, as well in the actor as at the witness, according to the interpretation which they make of the external codes!

Literally, it is the mechanics of the alive one!

Biomechanics, that Meyerhold starts to develop in 1920, is a supposed DRIVE to sharpen the reflexes of the actor. It is a motion study, rate/rhythm, which considers the body like a MACHINE.

Biomechanics includes/understands various exercises which make it possible to tame the laws of the movement: the slap, the skater, the shooting with the arc, the throw of a stone, the stab, etc. Each exercise is cut out in precise sequences, and each movement is composed of three phases:

1) intention

2) action

3) reaction

L ' OTKAZ indicates the moment of suspension between the end of a movement and the beginning of another, the dynamic point of tension between two contrary forces. One names also otkaz the gesture with misinterpretation which makes it possible to give the impulse to the following movement: for example, retreat before advancing, the inflection before rising or the dash which the hand takes before slapping.

Handbook of the Stanislavsky's Method *

stage movement list (amazon) *

The Actor and the Target 1559362197
Declan Donnellan is the first Director of the Royal Shakespeare Academy and is best known for his work with Check By Jowl, including As You Like It, and the recent production of Homebody/Kabul in New York. As Associate Director of the National Theatre his pro-ductions included Fuente Ovejuna, Sweeney Todd, and Angels in America. Abroad, his work abroad includes Le Cid for the Avignon Festival, The Winter_s Tale for the Maly Theatre in St. Petersbourg and Puskin_s Boris Godunuv for the Moscow Theatre confederation. He has received awards in London, Paris, New York, and Moscow.

". " " . ". ISBN 5-7784-0064-0

see rus (resources in russian)

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