I was brought up on lore of the Moscow Art Theatre. Konstantin Alexeyev (stage name: “Stanislavsky”) and friends started an amateur chamber theater in Moscow in the 1890s. He reports, in My Life in Art, that he’d been moved by witnessing the Saxe-Meiningen Players in 1885. He found their playing revolutionary, as it discarded the old Delsarte technique of standard poses for standard emotions. He’d “seen the new thing.”
He met an entrepreneur-amateur, Vladimir Nemirovic-Danchenko, and the Alexeyev Players became the Moscow Art Theatre. They were supported, first, by the czar, and later by the state; and, most important, by …
This article appears as “Memories of Moscow” in the November 16, 2020, print edition of National Review.
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