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Copy of Vsevolod Meyerhold (1874 - 1942)

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Jessica Urban

on 7 October 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Vsevolod Meyerhold (1874 - 1942)

Vsevolod Meyerhold (1874 - 1942)
Personal Life
Born in Moscow, named Karl Theodore Kasimir Meyerhold
Changed his name to Vsecolod Emilevich in 1895 when he declared Russian nationality.
8th child of German parents (father was a Vodka distiller)
Favorite play was Hamlet (never performed it)
Theatrical Experience
Attended the drama school of the Moscow Philharmonic Society
Awarded Society's Silver Medal for Acting in 1898.
Invited to join Moscow Popular Art Theatre in 1898 and accepted.
Left in 1902
Opened his own successful theatre company shortly thereafter
Meyerhold's artistic visions amused and baffled audiences and critics alike.

Theatrical Experience/Personal Life Continued
Meyerhold opened his own theatre in 1920 that was open until 1938
On June 20th 1939 Meyerhold was arrested
On July 15th 1939 his wife was found stabbed to death in their apartment.
After being tortured he admitted to working for both British and Japanese Intelligence Agencies (he later recanted) and was sentenced to death via firing squad in February 1940.
He was eventually cleared of all charges in 1955

Meyerhold Theory
Theory known as Biomechania/biomechanics
Meyerhold had other acting techniques but this was the one that he focused most on
Meyerhold claimed that it was scientific and mechanical to fit with the time period - it wasn't
Biomechanics boils down to this: The actor is submitted entirely to the will of the director.
Wanted actors to move almost mechnically
Method is based off a combination of Kabuki and commedia dell'arte
Meyerhold Set
Set was minimalistic and basically completely bare
Stage was harshly lit
Mechanics of backstage was clearly seen
Didn't want to create an illusion of time and space (thus theatre could be 'timeless')
Mostly went out of fashion in the 1920's
Acting Technique
Meyerhold never wrote about his acting techniques.
Opposed naturalism
Deadly afraid of plagiarism
Believed basic laws of theatre could be studied and perfected
Movement, space, rhythm and gesture were the primary elements in theatre.
Could create 'truthful theatre' without imitating or copying everyday life.
Saw theatre as a social art
Meyerhold had 16 etudes based on movement
Etudes are precise muscular movements meant to evoke particular emotions
Examples of some of the etudes:
"Throwing the Stone"
"The slap in the face"
"Stab with the dagger"
"Dropping the weight"
"Building the pyramid"
Start with 'the central method'.... it's time for.... our acting exercise!
The etude recommended for this is "throw the stone."

Otkaz - preparation actor makes before actual action (crouching, reaching, stepping, ect)
Posil - actual action
Tochka - rest at the end of a movement
Full transcript