“Back to Ostrovsky!” and Forward to Socialist Realism

Stanislavsky's Ardent Heart (1926) and the staging of ideology at the Moscow Art Theatre

Authored by: William D. Gunn

The Routledge Companion to Stanislavsky

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415535649
eBook ISBN: 9780203112304
Adobe ISBN: 9781136281853


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In the fall of 1918, Vladimir Lenin famously attended a production of Alexander Ostrovsky's Enough Stupidity in Every Wise Man at the Moscow Art Theatre. According to the former Art Theatre actress Olga Gzovskaia, Lenin was struck by Konstantin Stanislavsky's portrayal of the pompous General Krutitsky and proclaimed:

You see this play by Ostrovsky […] An old, classical author, but the acting of Stanislavsky speaks to us in a new way. This general uncovers many things that are important to us […] This is agitprop in the best and most noble sense […] If only they all knew how to reveal a character in a new, contemporary way, it would be wonderful!

(Dreiden 1967: 178) 1

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