The term ‘theatre laboratory’ has entered the regular lexicon of theatre artists, producers, scholars and critics alike, yet use of the term is far from unified, often operating as an catch-all for a web of intertwining practices, territories, pedagogies and ideologies. Russian theatre, however, has seen a clear emergence of laboratory practice that can be divided into two distinct organisational structures: the studio and the masterskaya (artisanal guild).
By assessing these structures, Bryan Brown offers two archetypes of group organisation that can be applied across the arts and sciences, and reveals a complex history of the laboratory’s characteristics and functions that support the term’s use in theatre.
This book’s discursive, historical approach has been informed substantially by contemporary practice, through interviews with and examinations of practitioners including Slava Polunin, Anatoli Vassiliev, Sergei Zhenovach and Dmitry Krymov.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Transliteration & Translation
1 An Organisational History
2 What’s in a Name
3 Why Russia
4 Retracing the Name
5 The Skete
6 From Study to Studio
7 The Studio in Visual Art: Cobra, a Collective Vitality
8 The Studio in Science: the Copenhagen Spirit
9 The Studio in Russian Theatre:
10 Creating a Commune: the First Studio’s Theatre-Obshchina
11 Oases of Curiosity: the Holidays of Slava Polunin
12 A New Camaraderie in Faith: the Theatre Art Studio
13 For the Sake of What: the Studio as Laboratory of Communion
14 From Workshop to Masterskaya
15 The Masterskaya in Visual Art: Rembrandt, the Master as Auteur
16 The Masterskaya in Science: Thomas Edison and the Contradictory Positions of his
17 The Masterskaya in Russian Theatre:
18 The Visionary Authority of Vsevolod Meyerhold
19 I Need Them to Fear Me: Anatoli Vassiliev and the School of Dramatic Art
20 The Ecstasy of Togetherness: the Laboratory of Dmitry Krymov
21 For the Sake of What? The Masterskaya as Laboratory of Authority
22 The Value of a Theatre Laboratory
Bryan Brown is an artist-scholar, currently a Lecturer at the University of Exeter and co-director of visual theatre company ARTEL (American Russian Theatre Ensemble Laboratory). Recent writing includes "Educating the Director", a co-authored, extended chapter on Meyerhold for The Great European Stage Directors Vol. 2.