Bulgakov wrote his Turbins for the psychological depth of the actors at the Moscow Art Theater, while Kulish wrote Sonata for Les' Kurbas's experimental Berezil Theater Company, the most avant-garde troupe in Soviet Ukraine.
Like Kurbas's Berezil Theater in Kharkiv, Tairov's Kamernyi (Chamber) Theater was perfectly suited to Kulish's play, because the theater regularly featured constructivist sets, well suited to highlight the symbolic nature of the play's characters.
In 1933, the Soviet Ukrainian Commissariat of Enlightenment shut down Kulish's play Maklena Grasa, which had premiered at the Berezil Theater in Kharkiv.
Mykola Sadovs'kyi, an established Ukrainian-language artist from the older generation, wrote to his sister-in-law in 1925 that he was so glad his brother, the director Panas Saksahans'kyi, had finally succeeded in creating a new theater company, "which is so necessary to us now, after all that kurbalesia of the Berezil," a dismissive reference to Kulish's friend and colleague, the theater director Les' Kurbas.
For an account of the end of the Berezil, see Yosyp [Iosyp] Hirniak, "Birth and Death of the Modern Ukrainian Theater," in Soviet Theaters 1917-1941, ed.
Again, during the Soviet period, despite his high reputation as "the leader of progressive French romanticism," a Ukrainian translation of Hugo's poem was not generally available in Soviet Ukraine; in January 1992, it was published in the Kharkiv journal Berezil
, exactly one month after the referendum ratifying Ukrainian independence.
Kurbas was a theatre director who in 1922 created the Berezil, one of the most innovative and revolutionary theatres in Europe at that time, only to be crushed by the Stalinist Terror of the 1930s.
And so in short order, in the eastern Ukranian city of Kharkiv, the Berezil International Theatre Festival was born.
In the month of March ("Berezil" in Ukranian) he announced the formation of the Berezil Artistic Association.
With Kurbas's death and the suppression of the Berezil Theatre, modernism in Ukranian theatre was destroyed.
"It's not possible to reanimate the Berezil theatre," Starodub admits.
Today Kurbas and Berezil seem more like a vision for the future than one from the past."