The Director's Prism investigates how and why three of Russia's most innovative directors- Vsevelod Meyerhold, Alexander Tairov, and Sergei Eisenstein-used the fantastical tales of German Romantic writer E. T. A. Hoffmann to reinvent the rules of theatrical practice. Because the rise of the director and the Russian cult of Hoffmann closely coincided, Posner argues, many characteristics we associate with avant-garde theater-subjective perspective, breaking through the fourth wall, activating the spectator as a co-creator-become uniquely legible in the context of this engagement. Posner examines the artistic poetics of Meyerhold's grotesque, Tairov's mime-drama, and Eisenstein's theatrical attraction through production analyses, based on extensive archival research, that challenge the notion of theater as a mirror to life, instead viewing the director as a prism through whom life is refracted. A resource for scholars and practitioners alike, this groundbreaking study provides a fresh, provocative perspective on experimental theater, intercultural borrowings, and the nature of the creative process.
Dassia Posner is an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University, USA.
"Posner explores the many ways in which Hoffmann's literary fantasies prompted a theatrical revolution in Russia during the first decades of the twentieth century. Through close analyses of archives and directorial promptbooks, she illustrates the rich lines of influence among three of Russia's most important avant-garde directors." --Sharon Marie Carnicke, author of Stanislavsky in Focus
"The Director's Prism is a rare book. The novelty of Posner's approach is (at least) twofold. She makes extensive (as well as illuminating and loving) use of archival sources, some of which remain unpublished even in Russia - prompt-books, drawings of the mise-en-sc ne, reviews, official statements and so forth... At the same time, Posner's 'refractive' approach extends beyond the more literal view of influence to embrace a sum total of Hoffmann's themes, formal devices, and creative affinities." --Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema Posner explores the many ways in which Hoffmann s literary fantasies prompted a theatrical revolution in Russia during the first decades of the twentiethcentury. Through close analyses of archives and directorial promptbooks, she illustrates the rich lines of influence among three of Russia s most important avant-garde directors. Sharon Marie Carnicke, author ofStanislavsky in Focus"
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