a family of French actors and theatrical figures.
Georges Pitoëff. Born Sept. 4, 1884, in Tbilisi; died Sept. 17, 1939, in Geneva.
G. Pitoëff began studying law in Paris in 1905, at the same time participating in amateur theatrical productions. Upon returning to Russia, he was employed in St. Petersburg at the V. F. Komissarzhevskaia Theater and the drama theater directed by P. P. Gaideburov and N. F. Skarskaia. In 1912 he organized his own theater, which toured Russia.
From 1915 to 1922, Pitoëff lived in Switzerland and Paris; in Paris he headed a theater troupe. He was one of the most important figures in the French theater during the 1920’s and 1930’s. He affirmed a theatrical art permeated with poetry and humanism, advocated the creation of a theater close to the common people, and “discovered” the plays of A. P. Chekhov for France. Pitoëffs views as a director received their fullest expression in productions of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1920), Shaw’s Saint Joan (1925), and Chekhov’s The Three Sisters (1929). As an actor, he expressed his views most fully as Hamlet; as Tuzenbakh, Tre-plev, and Astrov in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, The Sea Gull, and Uncle Vanya; and as Protasov in L. N. Tolstoy’s The Living Corpse.
Ludmilla Pitoëff. Born Dec. 25, 1895, in Tbilisi; died Sept. 15, 1951, in Rueil-Malmaison. Actress. Wife of Georges Pitoëff.
In 1916, L, Pitoëff made her debut with Georges Pitoëffs troupe in Switzerland. She played the most diverse roles, which frequently were in marked contrast to one another, and supported and carried out her husband’s innovative efforts. Her talent was revealed most fully in the title role of Shaw’s Saint Joan. From 1939 she lived and worked in Switzerland, the USA, and Canada, settling in Paris in 1945.