Strepetova, Polina (Pelageia) Antip’evna


Born Oct. 4(?), 1850, in Nizhny Novgorod (now Gorky); died Oct. 4 (17), 1903, in St. Petersburg. Russian actress.

Strepetova did not receive formal training for the theater, but she learned much from her fellow performers, including A. I. Shubert, a pupil of M. S. Shchepkin, and her own husband, the actor M. I. Pisarev. Her art was greatly influenced by the aesthetic views of V. G. Belinskiiand N. A. Dobroliubov.

Strepetova made her debut in Rybinsk in 1865. She appeared in provincial theaters, performing in comedies, vaudevilles, dramas, and operettas. Her talent for tragedy was revealed in the roles of Lizaveta in Pisemskii’s A Bitter Fate and Katerina in Os-trovskii’s The Thunderstorm, which she performed in Kazan in 1871 and which became her greatest achievement as an actress. One of her best roles was Stepanida in Potekhin’s The Evil Influence of Money (early 1880’s).

Strepetova was the first Russian actress to reveal the spiritual strength of the Russian woman. In her roles she depicted the Russian woman’s lack of rights and at the same time expressed social protest. Strepetova’s sincerity, spirit, and emotional power compensated for a certain unevenness in her acting and for the lack of a strong physical presence. She was particularly successful in the roles of Mar’ia Andreevna in Ostrovskii’s The Poor Bride and Mar’itsa in Averkiev’s The Old Days in Kashira and in the title role in Ostrovskii and Gedeonov’s Vasilisa Melent’eva.

In 1873, Strepetova acted with the Public Theater in Moscow. She often performed with the Arts Circle directed by A. N. Ostrovskii. In 1880 she performed at the A. A. Brenko Pushkin Theater in Moscow. From 1881 to 1890 and in 1899 and 1900 she was with the company of the St. Petersburg Aleksandrinskii Theater. There she performed a number of new roles, including Kru-chinina in Ostrovskii’s Guilty Though Guiltless and Sarra in Chekhov’s Ivanov. However, conflicts between Strepetova’s ideological and artistic convictions and the conservatism of the imperial theater’s directorship led to her eventual dismissal from the company.

Many persons involved in the arts praised Strepetova’s outstanding gifts as a tragedienne. A. N. Ostrovskii wrote: “As a natural talent, she is a rare, outstanding phenomenon. . . . Her milieu is that of women of the lower and middle classes of society; her inspiration comes from simple, strong passions” (Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 10, 1960, p. 282).


Vospominaniia ipis’ma. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.


P. A. Strepetova: Zhizn i tvorchestvo tragicheskoi aktrisy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Fel’dman, Z. Polina Antip’evna Strepetova. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Ben’iash, R. M. Pelageia Antip’evna Strepetova. Leningrad, 1967.
References in periodicals archive ?
Your report without year, month, or date was received by this Office, in which it is reported that the soldier's wife Pelageia Iakovleva unjustly complains about you in regard to her oppression and demands for dues," the letter began.
The first major issue was the substance of the soldier's wife Pelageia Iakovleva's complaints, which called into question the ways in which authority was expressed within the village when a particularly troublesome issue--like a recruit levy--occurred.
The tale of Pelageia Iakovleva and her fellow peasants, then, is a tale of the conflict between authorities within and outside the village, and of individuals' attempts to bolster their own positions vis-a-vis one or the other sources of control by means of the written word.
In the village, roles were played by two village elders: Dmitri Dmitriev in 1819, and Larion Mart'ianov in 1820; by two recruits (or would-be recruits): Mikhail Ivanov, and Mikhail Ul'ianov; and by the wives of these two men: Dar'ia Vakhrameeva and Pelageia Iakovleva.
On the other, the wife he left behind, Pelageia Iakovleva, soon proved not simply to be a persistent irritant to the commune's leaders, to its other peasants, and to the estate Office itself--although she was certainly that--but a figure who for a while succeeded in using the existing peasant administrative structure to her own advantage.
Soon after Iusupov's response, Pelageia Iakovleva (Ul'ianov's wife) wrote two petitions in quick succession in which she begged for the return of her husband (a request the Office ignored), and also laid out a series of complaints against Dmitri Dmitriev and the other peasants of the village (which it took quite seriously).
The Office admonished the village elder in the future to read orders aloud at gatherings of all the peasants, and on top of that, to be sure that Pelageia was called to listen.
Over the next several months the Office continued to be a reliable, if in some ways reluctant, ally of Pelageia in her struggles within the commune, despite dire counteraccusations made by the village elder and what had to be its own increasing level of annoyance with Pelageia's demands.
The village elder was instructed to use proper legal channels to investigate the theft, and not to baselessly accuse Pelageia and her sister in law, "because she was not caught doing it, and there is no clear proof.
Dmitri Dmitriev followed part of the Office's orders--not bothering Pelageia herself--but his actions toward her sister-in-law were clearly against the spirit of those instructions.
There was one matter in which the estate Office did not support Pelageia.
Mart'ianov also petitioned the Office about the case, and tried to point out the unfairness of the Office's decision: Pelageia was "now the full proprietor of her land after her husband, both in fields and meadows .