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For the first time since the fall of state communism, Russia is experiencing a profoundly creative revival of playwriting and directing. A new generation of directors has arrived on the country’s major stages, bringing fresh political perspectives, breaking the normative use of formal language for slang and hybridizations of English and Russian, and introducing theatrical innovations such as live mixing of electronic music in performance. Featuring essays by Russian and American critics and scholars, Russian Theater presents major developments in the new Russian theater from 2000 to the present.
In the first English-language collection to examine twenty-first-century Russian theater, this special issue of Theater also includes the complete texts of two new Russian plays, published for the first time in English. Ivan Vyrypaev’s Oxygen is a poetic panorama of new Russian identity set to techno music, and Danila Privalov’s 5-25 explores traditional Dostoyevskian existential themes in the language of a new generation. One contributor chronicles the sweeping cultural and institutional changes in the Russian theater since 2000, while another provides an overview of the regional theater system in the world’s most geographically vast country. Another essay explores the development of the new playwriting movement, identifying its key writers and producers. This special issue also includes interviews with the movement’s directors and producers. Additionally, it contains letters, previously unpublished in English, from the Moscow Art Theater’s Olga Bokshanskaya to the Russian theatrical titan Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, reporting on the Moscow Art Theater’s legendary U.S. tour in 1920–22, which was recorded in theater history as a turning point for American acting.
Contributors. AKHE, Dmitri Chernikov, Nina Chusova, Marina Dmitrievskaya, Sasha Dugdale, John Freedman, Elena Gremina, Nina Karpova, Mindaugus Korbauskis, Ryan McKittrick, Arkady Ostrovsky, Danila Privalov, Victor Rizhakov, Yana Ross, Tom Sellar, Kirill Serebrennikov, Anatoly Smeliansky, Julia Smeliansky, Ivan Vyrypaev