Vasilii Nikolaevich Andreev-Burlak
Andreev-Burlak, Vasilii Nikolaevich
(real surname Andreev). Born Jan. 1, 1843, in Simbirsk; died May 10, 1888, in Kazan. Russian actor.
Andreev-Burlak studied at the University of Kazan. He served as captain on a Volga steamship. He performed as a narrator-improviser in amateur shows; in 1868 he began to work in the professional theater. At first he was a comedian who used improvisation and farce in his acting, but later Andreev’s style evolved into the realism of A. E. Martynov’s school. He imbued his characterization with deep psychological insight in the development of the theme of the “little man” overwhelmed by his surroundings. He was one of the organizers and leaders of the first private theater in Moscow (the so-called Pushkin Theater, 1880). In 1883, in a struggle against a commercial theater management, he and M. I. Pisa-rev established the First Brotherhood of Russian Actors.
His best roles were Schastlivtsev (in The Forest by Os-trovskii), Raspliuev (in Krechinski’s Wedding by Sukhovo-Kobylin), and Iudushka Golovlev (in the adaptation of Saltykov-Shchedrin’s novel The Golovlev Family). At concerts, Andreev read passages from the prose works of N. V. Gogol, F. M. Dostoevsky, and others; his best work was Notes of A Madman by Gogol.