Kamernyi Teatr

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kamernyi Teatr


a drama theater in Moscow (incorporated into the network of academic theaters by a resolution of the People’s Commissariat for Education on Nov. 20, 1920). It opened in 1914 with a performance of Kalidasa’s Sakuntala.

A. Ia. Tairov was the theater’s founder and director; he staged its most important productions. He conceived of the Kamernyi Teatr’s artistic program as a counterpoise to the stage naturalism and to the “theater of convention” of the early part of the century. The theater developed primarily as a theater of tragedy, but gravitated toward polar genres (“today—mystery, tomorrow— harlequinade”) and became a theater of synthesis. Tairov expounded the idea that stagecraft has an independent value of its own; he trained actors for skilled performance in all theatrical genres and forms. He stressed the importance of pantomime, initially as an independent form and later as an element of the dramatic performance.

Many of the theater’s productions were experimental and not all were successful; they occasionally aroused heated controversy. Seeking a place for itself iri the system of Soviet realistic theater, the Kamernyi published manifestos defining its artistic style; in its terms “structural realism” was the complex artistic structure of stage works and “winged realism” was the need to crystallize the generalized insights of art. The theater became well known, particularly after its tours abroad in 1923, 1925, and 1930.

A. G. Koonen was the theater’s leading actress. The production of Optimistic Tragedy by Vs. Vishnevskii (1933, with Koonen as the Commissar) was a universally recognized innovative peak in the staging of revolutionary heroism in the Soviet Union.

The most important productions of the Kamernyi Teatr included Famira-Kifared by Annenskii (1916); Adrienne Lecouvreur by Scribe and Legouvé (1919); Phèdre by Racine (1922); Giroflé-Girofla by Lecocq (1922); O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape (1926), Desire Under the Elms (1926), and All God’s Chillun GotWings (1929); The Three-Penny Opera by Brecht and Weill (1930); Madam Bovary, based on the novel by Flaubert (1940); While the Heart Still Beats by Paustovskii (1943); The Seagull by Chekhov (1944); Guilty Though Guiltless by Ostrovskii (1944); and The Old Man by Gorky (1946). In 1950 the theater was closed. Some members of the company joined the newly organized A. S. Pushkin Moscow Drama Theater.


Lunacharskii, A. V. O teatre i dramaturgii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1958.
Markov, P. Noveishie teatraVnye techeniia. Moscow, 1924.
Politicheskie otkliki zapadnoi pressy na gastroli Moskovskogo Gosudarst-vennogo Kamernogo teatra. Moscow, 1924.
Derzhavin, K. Kniga o Kamernom teatre. Leningrad, 1934.
Tairov, A. Zapiski rezhissera: Stat’i, Besedy, Rechi, Pis’ma. Moscow, 1970.
Golovashenko, Iu. Rezhisserskoe iskusstvo Tairova. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Tairov's Kamernyi Teatr has not enjoyed the fame and scholarly attention of Meyerhold's.