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The Soviet TheaterA Documentary History$
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Laurence Senelick and Sergei Ostrovsky

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300194760

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300194760.001.0001

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Innovation Within Stagnation, 1964–1984

Innovation Within Stagnation, 1964–1984

(p.555) Chapter Ten Innovation Within Stagnation, 1964–1984
The Soviet Theater

Laurence Senelick

Sergei Ostrovsky

Yale University Press

This chapter describes events in the history of Soviet theater and arts from 1917 to 1919. The period known as Stagnation—owing to the smug, stolid, and increasingly arteriosclerotic leadership of Leonid Brezhnev—also saw the most exciting upsurge in theatrical creativity since the 1920s. Audiences flocked the theater to hear messages they could not hear anywhere else. Often veiled in “Aesopic language” or scenic metaphors, antiestablishment attitudes could be conveyed from the stage. Turning away from the mediocre repertoire, many directors adapted prose and played the classics: Éfros staged Gogol's Wedlock and The Cherry Orchard in 1975; Chekhov's Ivanov was seen as a forecast of the current mood and enjoyed multiple revivals.

Keywords:   Soviet theater, Soviet history, Leonid Brezhnev, Aesopic language, scenic metaphors, Gogol, Chekhov

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