Central Puppet Theater
Central Puppet Theater
a puppet theater headed by People’s Artist of the USSR S. V. Obraztsov. It was founded in 1931 in Moscow as part of the Central House of the Artistic Upbringing of Children. The theater opened in 1932 with a performance of Globa’s Jim and the Dollar.
Over the years the Central Puppet Theater has created a repertoire whose aim is to promote the aesthetic and ethical upbringing of children. The theater has achieved great success in its search for innovative dramaturgy, directing, acting, and versatility of staging. During the earliest years of its existence the theater staged productions that ranked among the best in the contemporary puppet theater. They included The Gosling by Gernet and Gurevich (1935), The Magic Overshoe by Matveev (1936), By a Wave of the Wand by Tarakhovskaia (1936), Puss in Boots by Vladychina (1937), Big Ivan by Obraztsov and Preobrazhenskii (1937), The Stag King (1943; based on Gozzi’s play of the same name), and The Merry Bear Cubs by Polivanova (1945).
Aladdin’s Lamp by Gernet (1940) was the theater’s first production for adults that used rod-puppets. The theater has made extensive use of parody and the grotesque in such plays as The Unusual Concert (1946, 1968), Mine, All Mine! by Tuzlukov (1958), and The Divine Comedy by Shtok (1961). Many of the theater’s productions have been performed for decades without losing their freshness and acuity. The theater’s creative achievements have been utilized by directors, stage designers, and actors of Soviet and foreign puppet theaters.
The best children’s productions staged by the Central Puppet Theater between the 1950’s and the 1970’s have included Buratino by Borisova (1953), Mister Twister and Petrushka the Foreigner by Marshak (1961), Little Tiger Petrik by Gernet (1965), Our Chukkokala by Chukovskii and Obraztsov (1973), The Tale of Tsar Saltan (1974; based on Pushkin’s folktale of the same name), and The Mysterious Hippopotamus by Lifshits and Kichanova (1974). The best productions for adults during the same period have included I-Ho-Ho by Speranskii (1964), The Central Puppet Theater Shows and Tells by Aldonina, Ransha-nov, and Shaikhet (1972), and Don Juan-76 by Livanov and Bardin (1975).
The theater’s company consists of two independent troupes, each with its own repertoire and director (People’s Artists of the RSFSR S. S. Samodur and E. V. Speranskii; in 1972, Speranskii was suceeded by Honored Artist of the RSFSR E. E. Sinel’nikova). As of 1976 the theater’s actors and stage directors included People’s Artist of the RSFSR Z. E. Gerdt, Samodur, Honored Artist of the RSFSR I. E. Mazing, Sinel’nikova, E. V. Uspenskaia, and V. N. Maizel’. Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR B. D. Tuzlukov was the principal stage designer from 1936 to 1970; A. A. Speshneva has held this post since 1970. S. V. Obraztsov, who has been the theater’s director since 1949, has staged most of its productions.
In 1970 the Central Puppet Theater moved to a new building. A unique clock with windup puppets that was installed on the building’s facade is one of Moscow’s tourist sights. The theater’s company often tours in the USSR and abroad; it has performed in 355 cities of the USSR and in 25 foreign countries. A puppet museum was opened at the theater in 1937, and its collection is considered one of the world’s best. Research on the puppet theater is conducted at the museum, which also develops new methodological approaches to puppet-theater performances. The Central Puppet Theater was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1969.
REFERENCESSmirnova, N. Sovetskii teatr kukol, 1918–1932. Moscow, 1963.
Smirnova, N. Teatr Sergeia Obraztsova. [Moscow, 1971.]
Speranskii, E. Akter teatra kukol. Moscow, 1965.
E. B. KORENBERG