Shumskii, Sergei Vasil’evich
(real surname, Chesnokov). Born Oct. 7 (19), 1820, in Moscow; died there Feb. 6 (18), 1878. Russian actor.
In 1841, Shumskii graduated from the Moscow Theatrical School, where he was a student of M. S. Shchepkin. He performed with the Malyi Theater from 1841 until 1878, and to gain experience he appeared with the Odessa Theater from 1847 to 1850. At first he appeared mainly in vaudevilles. Being impossible to type-cast, Shumskii played many different roles. He created his best characterizations in the 1850’s and 1860’s, for example, as Kochkarev and Khlestakov in Gogol’s Marriage and The Inspector-General, Count Liubin in Turgenev’s The Provincial Lady, Krechinskii in Sukhovo-Kobylin’s Krechinskii’s Wedding, Zhadov and Krutitskii in Ostrovskii’s A Profitable Post and Even a Wise Man Stumbles, Ivan the Terrible in A. K. Tolstoy’s 77ie Death of Ivan the Terrible, and Scapin in Molière’s The Cheats of Scapin.
Shumskii was outstanding for his mastery of acting techniques, artistry, sincerity, and simplicity and for the careful thought he devoted to the smallest details. In the late 1860’s he taught acting at the Moscow Conservatory, where in 1869 he staged Glinka’s opera A Life for the Tsar (Ivan Susanin).