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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Persian, balakhana,“upper room” or “balcony”).

(1) A temporary building for theater, circus, or estrada (variety stage) performances; the balagan was known in Russia from the middle of the 18th century. Originally, trade fair sites were adapted for the performances. Later, special wooden buildings were built, the roof being made of tarpaulin or sacking. In front of the balagan, a balcony (raus) was erected, from which the actors called the public in to the performance. Harlequinades and farces were presented as well as pseudopatriotic plays and classical works in extremely shortened form; magicians, acrobats, athletes, gymnasts, folk choruses, Petrushka puppets, and marionettes performed there. In St. Petersburg in 1880 a balagan of a new type known as “entertainment and edification” was organized on the Marsovo Pole. Its artistic director was A. Ia. Alekseev-Iakovlev, who was connected with the folk theater. Many subsequently well-known artists, such as A. L. and V. L. Durov, I. S. Radunskii (Bim), E. A. Lepkovskii, and others, began their careers in the balagan. The balagan existed until the 1930’s, at which time it was showing variety entertainment.

(2) In the figurative sense, human activity which resembles a balagan show; foolish, coarse conduct.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
With that in mind, Groshong and Hobson recently stepped down from their posts running Balagan on a day-to-day basis.
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The balagan refers to Russian fairground theatre, which fascinated many Russian modernists with its puppet shows, bear dances, and colourful entertainments.
Local police said Nelson Furio, 41, married, a painter, of Barangay Balagan, Binmaley, Pangasinan, died in the hospital.
We first did the show there at the Balagan, this little basement theatre; tickets were just $7.
Just one month after Miliband's chief rival, Prime Minister David Cameron, was heckled during his speech to the Knesset (unfazed, Cameron said his ambassador had taught him the word balagan prior to his address), Miliband faced a decidedly more favorable audience at the Mount Scopus campus.
The three were up in arms against Balagan Arumugaswamy, a Washington DC based leading CPA who was unanimously chosen as Fetna silver jubilee convention coordinator in the delegates meeting held last year.
As everything else here, buying a car is total balagan (mixed-up confusion).