Ural Federal University: University Press Published Book About Theater

The Rehearsal Man book has been published by the Ural University Publishing House. It tells about a unique theatrical experiment of the mid-1970s in the walls of Ural State University (now Ural Federal University), the student drama and comedy theater under the direction of Leonid Anisimov (now artistic director and director of the Tokyo New Repertory Theater).

“In the mid-1970s, the performances of our university drama and comedy theater under the direction of Leonid Anisimov were a shock for me (and, it seems, not only for me). It existed for just a few years. Its repertoire was limited to only four premieres. But it was enough. This theater was outwardly “poor”, “beggar” even. Not theatrical at all. Small stages were still a novelty then. The absence even of mental ramp that separated the performers from the audience disavowed the idea of a “fourth scene” and a stage box in general which action inside was usually worth empathizing with. The audience in the auditorium was countless (but you have to try to be among these lucky people: even the teaching status did not help everyone), so that not only each performer, but also each listener, was distinct. All this made the performance not just a chamber piece, but rather an intimate one,” recalls Leonid Bykov, literature critic and professor at the UrFU Department of Russian and Foreign Literature.

Theater productions took place on the eighth floor in the building on 48 Kuibyshev Street. Students and staff of the university managed to stage Chekhov’s “The Seagull”, Gorky’s “The Birth of Man”, Andreev’s “Proverbs in Tongues”, and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”.

“There were no “close-ups” in these plays. That’s because there were none but close-ups. The action unfolded at arm’s length. Yet, at the same time, I, the viewer, was immersed in another existence. In a space different from the reality that surrounded us before we went up to the eighth floor to the small room where everything was happening,” says Leonid Bykov.

The book includes interviews with Elena Tolmacheva, Vitaly Volovitch, Tatyana Kruglova, Lilia Nemchenko, Lev Shulman, and others. In addition, quotations from Leonid Anisimov’s manuscript “Loving a Man, or How to Read Stanislavsky’s System” are used.

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