Nikolai Evreinov Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Nikolai Evreinov’s theories on drama are presented in Vvedenie v monodramu (1909; an introduction to monodrama), Teatr kak takovoy (1913; the theater as such), and the three-volume Teatr dlya sebya (1915-1917; The Theater in Life, 1927). A summary of these theoretical writings is available in English in The Theater in Life, reissued in 1970. Evreinov also wrote articles and books on various dramatic topics, such as Spanish actors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, serf actors, theatrical invention, the origin of drama, Semitic and German drama, and the Russian theater. His own and other plays staged by him at The Crooked Mirror were published under his editorship in the three-volume Dramaticheskiye sochineniya (1907-1923).


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Nikolai Evreinov belongs to those avant-garde playwright-directors who revitalized the Russian stage in the first decades of the twentieth century. After Anton Chekhov’s death in 1904, these writers, among them Vsevolod Meyerhold, experimented with new forms and ideas, all of which represented a reaction to the realism and naturalism that had dominated the stage throughout the nineteenth century. Evreinov’s contributions to this period of innovation in Russian theater are several. He strove to eliminate the barriers between audience and stage through a number of devices, including prologues that exposed the tricks of the trade by exhibiting props, explaining set arrangement and function, and changing scenery in view of the audience. His highly exotic settings incorporated grotesque placards, carnival paraphernalia, and dances and music. He brought back the stock characters of the commedia dell’arte and adopted its practice of giving the actors wide scope to improvise. Evreinov developed a type of “short play,” a sophisticated version of the humorous sketch found in cabaret, and staged this genre at The Crooked Mirror, the intimate St. Petersburg theater under his direction from 1910 to 1917. These skits subsequently became very popular in Russia and entered the general repertory as a standard feature. Evreinov’s desire to focus attention on the theatrical aspects of performance caused him to make prominent use of the play-within-a-play, which is present...

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(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Carnicke, Sharon Marie. The Theatrical Instinct: Nikolai Evreinov and the Russian Theatre of the Early Twentieth Century. New York: Peter Lang, 1989. Carnicke examines Evreinov’s drama within the larger context of early twentieth century Russian theater. Bibliography and index.

Golub, Spencer. Evreinov: The Theater of Paradox and Transformation. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1984. An analysis of the theater art created by Evreinov. Bibliography and index.

Moody, C. “Nikolai Nikolaevich Evreinov, 1879-1953.” Russian Literature Triquarterly 13 (1975): 659-695. A concise overview of the life and works of Evreinov.

Proffer, Ellendea, ed. Evreinov: A Pictorial Biography. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Ardis, 1981. A photobiography of Evreinov that provides useful information on his life.