Iakhontov, Vladimir Nikolaevich
Born Nov. 16 (28), 1899, in Sedlets, now Siedlce, Poland; died July 16, 1945, in Moscow. Soviet Russian artist of estrada (the variety stage) and dramatic reading.
Iakhontov studied at the Second Studio of the Moscow Art Theater and at the Vakhtangov Studio. He was with the Meyer-hold Theater from 1924 to 1926. On the variety stage from 1922, he appeared in his first one-man show, a literary montage entitled On the Death of Lenin, in 1924. He created the mixed programs October, Lenin, The Year 1905, St. Petersburg (including Pushkin’s The Bronze Horseman, Gogol’s The Overcoat, and Dostoevsky’s White Nights), and Evenings with Mayakovsky. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Iakhontov performed works of moving lyricism, such as Formidable Russia and A Toast to Life. Calling his work “one-man theater,” he gave this “theater” the name Sovremennik (Contemporary); active from 1927 to 1935, the theater had as its stage directors E. E. Popova and S. I. Vladimirskii. Iakhontov was a brilliant representative of the art of dramatic reading.