(also, A. Mierlauk; pseudonyms of A. Fridfelds). Born Apr. 3 (15), 1866, in IkŠķilē; died Apr. 19, 1943, in Riga. Latvian theatrical figure, director, and actor.
While a worker, Mierlauks took part in amateur stage productions in Riga (from 1886). From 1890 he was an actor and then a director at the Riga Latvian Theater, where he staged Gorky’s Smug Citizens (1904) and The Lower Depths (1906), which were widely acclaimed by progressive intellectuals. Mierlauks’ talent as a director reached its peak during his work at the New Riga Theater, which he headed from 1909 to 1911 and from 1914 to 1915. Mierlauks’ 1911 production of Rainis’ play Fire and Night was a landmark in the history of the Latvian theater.
Mierlauks later worked at the Petrograd New Latvian Theater (1915), the Workers’ Theater of Soviet Latvia (1919), the National Theater (1919–38; director, 1919–21). Among his productions were Gorky’s Enemies (1919) and Rainis’ Joseph and His Brethren (1920) and I Played and Danced (1921). Among his best roles were Klenga in Blaumanis’ In the Fire, Kangars in Rainis’ Fire and Night, Attinghausen in Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell, and Belugin in Ostrovskii and Solov’ev’s Belugin ’s Marriage.
Mierlauks is an outstanding representative of Latvian democratic theatrical culture and a founder of national stage direction.