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Kedrov, Mikhail Nikolaevich
Born Dec. 21, 1893 (Jan. 2, 1894), in Moscow; died there Mar. 22, 1972. Soviet director, actor, and teacher. People’s Artist of the USSR (1948).
Kedrov, the son of a priest, was part of a troupe of amateur actors. After the Great October Socialist Revolution he studied at the Free Art Studios (in 1921 renamed Vkhutemas—the State Higher Arts and Technical Studios). In 1922, Kedrov was admitted to the Second Studio of the Moscow Art Academic Theater (Mkhat), and in 1924 he joined the Mkhat troupe.
Among Kedrov’s best roles were Hsing Ping-wu in Vsevolod Ivanov’s Armored Train 14–69, Kvasov in Kirshon’s Bread, Manilov in an adaptation of Gogol’s Dead Souls, Zakhar Bardin in M. Gorky’s The Enemies, and the title role in Moliére’s Tartuffe. His acting combined a keen perception of artistic truth with a deep understanding of the social essence of character. Kedrov also combined subtle artistic techniques with depth and versatility of portrayal.
In the 1930’s, Kedrov became an acting teacher and director. His first production, In the World (1933, a dramatization of M. Gorky’s work), became a permanent part of Mkhat’s repertoire and was highly acclaimed by Gorky himself. In 1936, Kedrov headed a group of actors from Mkhat that was studying K. S. Stanislavsky’s new method of acting. This experimental work was the basis of his production of Moliére’s Tartuffe in 1939. Stanislavsky’s most intimate student, Kedrov relied on the latest innovative ideas of his teacher in his work (the method of physical actions), conveying the ideological content of a play primarily through the art of the actor.
From 1946 to 1955 Kedrov was the principal director of Mkhat; and from 1960 to 1970, the chairman of its art collegium. Kedrov’s best productions included Kron’s Deep Prospecting (1943, State Prize of the USSR, 1946), Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (1947), L. N. Tolstoy’s The Fruits of Enlightenment (1951; State Prize of the USSR, 1952), Pogodin’s The Third Pathétique (1958), Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (1958), Korneichuk’s Above the Dnieper (1961), and Gogol’s The Inspector-General (1967).
In 1936, Kedrov became a director and teacher at the K. S. Stanislavsky Studio for Opera and Drama. After Stanislavsky’s death, he served as the head of the K. S. Stanislavsky Studio Theater for Opera and Drama. In 1949, Kedrov became a teacher and consultant at the V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko Studio School of Mkhat. He received the State Prize of the USSR in 1949 and 1950 and was also awarded the Order of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals.