Shusherin, Iakov Emel’ianovich
Born 1753 in Moscow; died there 1813. Russian actor.
Shusherin joined M. Groti’s troupe in 1772 and the Petrovskii Theater in Moscow in 1780; from 1786 to 1793 and from 1800 to 1810 he acted on the imperial stage in St. Petersburg. Originally Shusherin played in comedies and comic operas, for example, as Filimon in Ablesimov’s The Miller—Magician, Swindler, and Matchmaker (to Sokolovskii’s music). In the 1780’s he turned to tragic roles displaying a perfect command of the technique of the classical theater. His roles included Khorev and Truvor in Suma-rokov’s Khorev and Sinav and Truvor and Iarb in Kniazhnin’s Dido.
Shusherin revealed his gifts most fully in the years 1793–1800, when he was performing in Moscow. In that period his repertoire included roles in sentimental plays, mainly bourgeois dramas and comédies larmoyantes, such as Ksuri and Meinau in Kotzebue’s The Parrot and Misanthropy and Repentance and Count Clarendon in Beaumarchais’s Eugenia. He also played the title role in Ozerov’s Oedipus in Athens and Zarutskii in Kriukovskii’s Pozharskii. Shusherin was one of the first Russian actors to try to turn away from classical acting conventions and to strive for a simple, natural style.