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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) A specific artistic quality that is inherent to a work of the theatrical arts and that distinguishes it from other genres of art by a special aesthetic nature and unique means of expression.

(2) The Russian form of the word, teatral’nost’, may be used to mean the distinctive stage language of any given playwright, which determines the entire artistic structure of the play and the manner in which it is performed. For example, one may speak of the teatral’nost’ of Shakespeare, Ostrovskii, or Chekhov.

(3) The undisguised use of theatrical devices; a conscious emphasis on the means of stage expression. Theatricality, typical of all forms of folk theater, became an organic trait of the professional stage. It was used by directors in the early 20th century in their struggle against the philistine bourgeois theater and was a means of bringing the contemporary stage closer to the sources of folk culture. Improvisation, pantomime, the grotesque, masks, and other devices have also been used in the realistic theater of the second half of the 20th century.


Stanislavsky, K. S. Sobr. soch., vol. 1. Moscow, 1954.
Meyerhold, V. E. Stat’i, pis’ma, rechi, besedy, parts 1–2. Moscow, 1968.
Vstrechis Meierkhol’dom: Sb. vospominanii. Moscow, 1967.
Evg. Vakhtangov: Materialy i stat’i. Moscow, 1959.
Tairov, A. Ia. Zapiski rezhissera: Stat’i, besedy, rechi, pis’ma. Moscow, 1970.
Boiadzhiev, G. N. Teatral’nost’ i pravda. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
Berkovskii, N. Ia. “Stanislavsky i estetika teatra.” In his Literatura i teatr. Moscow, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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