Moscow Theatre "School of Dramatic Art"
Moscow, RUSSIA - Anatoli Vasiliev, Artistic Director;
Sretenka str., 19/27
107045 Moscow, Russia

Phone: 924 43 01 / 923 50 04
Fax: 923 48 30
Email: rezy@orc.ru
History of the theatre "School of Dramatic Art"
On February 24, 1987 Moscow theatre “School of Dramatic Art” was officially open. The premiere of the performance “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by L.Pirandello directed by Anatoly Vasiliev took place on that day. By that time there were two performances directed by Anatoly Vasiliev in the repertoire of the theatre – “Six Characters in Search of an Author” and “Cerceau” by Victor Slavkin (“Cerceau” was staged by A.Vasiliev in 1985 in the Taganka theatre).

On the venue of the theatre “School of Dramatic Art” Anatoly Vasiliev staged the following performances: “ Today We Improvise ” by L.Pirandello (1990) ; “ Fiorenza ” by T.Mann (1993) ; “ Joseph and His Brothers ” by T.Mann (1993) ; “ Amphytrion ” by Moliere (1994) ; “ The Lamentation of Jeremiah ”, the book of Jeremian, sung, composer Vladimir Martynov (1996) – in 1997 the performance “ The Lamentation of Jeremiah ” was awarded the National Theatre Premium “ The Golden Mask ” in two nominations : “ As the best performance ” and “ For the best scenography ” ; “ A.S.Pushkin. “ Don Juan, or “ the Stone Guest ” and Other Verses ” (1998) ; A.S.Pushkin “ To *** ” (1999) ; A.S.Pushkin “ Mozart and Salieri/V.Martynov “ Requiem ” (2000) ; “ Pushkin Matinée ” (2000). The performance “ Medée – Materiaux ” by Heiner Muller (2001) is the last premiere of the theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ”.

Since 1987 the theatre company has been touring all over the world.
The performance “ Cerceau ” was presented in the festivals in Stuttgart, Rotterdam, London, Belgrade, in Helsinki, Budapest, Munich, Western Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Rome.
“ Six Characters in Search of an Author ” was presented in the festivals in Vienna, Milano, Avignon, Hvar, Western Berlin, Palermo, Prato, London, Montreal, New York, Mexico and Wroclaw.
The performance “ Amphytrion ” was on toures in Bratislawa, Scopie, Taormina. It was presented in the festivals “ Theater Formen ” (Braunshweig), “ Ibero Americano de Theatro ” (Bogota, Columbia), “ Festival delle Culture ” (Leche, Italy), Fabrica Europa (Florence) and in the Festival d’Avignon.
“ The Lamentation of Jeremiah ” was presented in the festival Taormina Arte, in the festivals in Berlin, Avignon, Goeteborg (Sweden) and in Stockholm within the framework of the programme Stockholm – Cultural Capital of Europe’ 98, in Sevilla, Barcelona.
The performance “ A.S.Pushkin. “ Don Juan, or “ the Stone Guest ” and Other Verses ” was performed in Theatre du Soleil in Paris and in the Centre of Studies on Jerzy Grotowski’s Work and of the Cultural and Theatrical Research in Wroclaw, Poland.
The performance A.S.Pushkin “ To *** ” was on tour in Theatre Moliere – Maison de la Poesie in Paris.
The performance A.S.Pushkin “ Mozart and Salieri/V.Martynov “ Requiem ” was presented in Teatro Valle in Rome.
The presentation of the performance “ Medée – Materiaux ” by Heiner Muller took place on the venue of the ‘Conservatoire National Superieur d’Art Dramatique’.

The theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” created by Anatoly Vasiliev is a unique model of theatre from the point of view of its artistic, intellectual, professional and ethic relations. The concept of the “ theatre – laboratory ” gives the opportunity to make the research and experiment. As a result of the seminars and laboratory researches in the “ School of Dramatic Art ” there appear new performances, there take place open rehearsals devoted to a certain author, to a text or to a theme.

For the time of its existence in the theatre-laboratory there were staged the following performances (as laboratory works) : “ Dumas ” - chapters from the novels by A.Dumas (1987), “ Vis-a-Vis ” - chapters from the novels by F.Dostoevskiy (1988), “ The Demons ” based on the novel by F.Dostoevskiy (1988), “ An Evening with Maupaussant ” (1988), “ Dialogues ” by Plato (1988, 1990), “ Just Talks ” by Erasmus (1989), “ Oscar Wild. “ The Critic as an Artist ” (1989), “ Plato – Magritt. “ Dialogues ” (1990), “ The Republic ” by Plato (1992), “ An Evening with Moliere ” (1992), A.S.Pushkin “ Conversations with a Poet ” (1994), “ Pushkin evenings ” (“ Mozart and Salieri ”, “ The Stone Guest ” and Other Verses in dialogues and interludes ”, “ Evgueni Oneguin ”, 1995), “ Homer. Iliad ” (1997, 2001), “Three sisters” by A.Chekhov (2000), “ Puskin Matinée ” (2000), “Bloody Wedding” by F.Lorca (2001), “ The Simposium ” by Plato (2001).

Several joint projects were realized in the theatre as well: “ Vis-a-Vis ” based on the novel by F.Dostoevskiy “ Idiot ” with Centro Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, 1992 ; “ I am a Seagull ” based on the plays by A.Chekhov, 1991 ; “ Each in His Own Way ” based on the play by L.Pirandello with University of Rome, Centro Teatro Ateneo and Teatro di Roma, 1993 ; projects with Academie Experimentale des Theatres under the direction of Michelle Kokosowski, 1993, 1996, 2001 ; projects with Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards in Pontedera, 1993,1996, 1999 ; the theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” is a participant of a joint international project of theatre organizations of European Countries of “ Ecole des Maitres ”. Sessions of Ecole des Maitres directed by A.Vasiliev and M.Langhoff took place in Moscow in 1997 and 1998.
In April 2001 Moscow theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” was accepted in the Union des Theatres de l’Europe.

In May 2001 the construstion of the new building of the theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” in Sretenka str. in Moscow was completed. Anatoly Vasiliev and Igor Popov, the scenographer whom A.Vasiliev has constantly been working since the beginning of his artistic career, were the authors of the unique architectural project.

Moscow theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” participated in the III International Theatre Olympiad in Moscow in 2001 and ran two programs : International Forum on Theatre Education and Experiment and The Eye - Slanted Scythians View. Within the framework of the Olympics the theatre presented the following performances as laboratory works : “ Bloody Wedding ” by F.Lorca, “ Litanies to Virgin ” by V.Martynov, “ Iliad ” by Homer, there was also run the joint project with the Japanese choreographer Min Tanaka “ Los Capricos – Goya’s Guests from the Dark ” - this project will result in creation of the Dancing School under the direction of Min Tanaka on the base of Moscow theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” in 2003.

Next year there will be open a new high educational institution on the base of the theatre - the Academy “ High School of Dramatic Art ”. There are supposed to be founded four faculties : faculty of directing and of acting skills, the faculty of visual arts, the faculty of experimental forms of studies, the faculty of theatre journalism.
On the artistic concept
"The School of Dramatic Art" founded by Vasiliev in 1987 was right from the start envisaged as an alternative to traditional, that is, repertory theatre. New artistic ideas simply did not have enough breathing space, were too squashed at the territory of traditional theatre where everything is determined by and aimed at providing the paying audience with a performance every night and a premiere every three months.

"The School of Dramatic Art" opened with Luigi Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author". And if Vasiliev's preceding production - "The Cerceau" - was simultaneously a continuation of the Russian theatre tradition and its shattering (in that particular work he did try to bring together, did try to synthesize psychological and play structures of theatre), "Six Characters" is to some extent the director's manifesto presenting his own image of theatre. In Vasiliev's words, "it is a play about the absence of faith in the present-day theatre… it is our attempt to understand what is theatre, what is art".

Standing in opposition against his times, fighting the prevalent contemporary ideas, Vasiliev suggests a radically new, in many ways paradoxical pattern of theatre. He regards theatre as a living process of development, as a new way of thinking and existing in art.
Laboratory - School - Theatre
The main concept of a 'Laboratory-Theatre' is focused on research and the ever-present possibility of experiment. The main concept of a 'School-Theatre' widens the boundaries of that search, as well as helps to secure the results found in the laboratory, so that new discoveries are directly transmitted to pupils in the everyday process of teaching. The School generates new theatre technologies, eventually it gives birth to a new theatre style; and after that new style penetrates and permeats an actor, after it becomes the actor's second nature, we can start talking about a new artistic trend, new poetics, in fact, about a new theatre being born. One might recall here the very etymological roots, the very meaning of the word 'art', 'artistic'; Sergei Averintsev, a Russian scholar, found convincing parallels linking that term with 'ascetics', - in other words, tracing it down to yet another 'laboratory', since, after all, ascetic practice presupposes seclusion, concentration and search for truth that is almost scholarly in its determination, it presupposes consistent and stubborn striving towards knowledge. Averintsev followed that analogy through yet another significant word: 'exercise', since it is something that is definitely called for and practiced on that way towards knowledge. And it is only after a man gains a certain degree of accomplishment in all those ascetic or scholarly exercises that we can describe his actions as being 'artistic', as having something to do with 'art'. Being an artist himself, Vasiliev suggested his concept of theatre in total harmony and resonance with all these connotations.

That new ideology defines theatre as a kind of cosmos, as an orderly whole, as a diligently constructed unity that withstands and opposes chaos, or gaping void of modern (civilized) theatre. Vasiliev was always interested in the origin of theatre, in the ancient sources of art in general; he found a convincing enough archetype of art in the ancient, archaic structures of the myth. That understanding has completely changed his attitude towards words that are now increasingly regarded as a living body of mythological structures. And creating new myths, that is, trying to return to initial origins inevitably means fighting and surpassing the petrified forms of civilization. All his later productions (he defines them with a mediaeval term: 'mystery plays') - "Lamentations of Jeremiah", "The Stone Guest", "Mozart and Salieri", "Medeamaterial" - reflect that new ideology, as well as embody new art technologies. The new, verbal techniques directly oppose psychological, or narrative structures of traditional theatre; their very existence is rooted not in human psyche but in words. The new 'verbal' direction of work is firmly grounded in several years of laboratory research, of first-hand theatre experience, of looking for a new theatre style. In Vasiliev's opinion that new theatre system of methodology is capable of producing performances in various theatre genres, be it high tragedy, high comedy, rite, mystery play… And all those performances convey some basic myths, translate a meaning that is essentially meta-physical, that is, placed above and beyond any human psychological structures. For Vasiliev that constitutes a possible image of future theatre, it provides us with a tangible proof that we still have a chance to resist the present-day pseudo-psychological, commercial and boulevard theatre.

Philosophy and practice of "The School of Dramatic Art" has brought theatre back to its initial sacred and mysterial origin, in fact, has brought it back to its home territory - the territory of metaphysics.


Marina Badretdinova
Anatoly Vasiliev : Biography
A .Vasiliev was born on May 4, 1942. Graduated from Rostov State University, faculty of Chemistry. In 1973 graduated from GITIS (the State Institute of Dramatic Art), where he had studied on the directing course supervised by A.Popov and M.Knebel.

Being the director-intern he staged “ A Solo for a Clock with Chimes ” by O.Zaradnik with an older generation of distinguished actors. This performance also became the starting point for the artistic collaboration between Anatoly Vasiliev and Igor Popov, scenographer ; this collaboration has been going on up to these days.

After the premiere of the performance “ A Solo for a Clock with Chimes ” the name of the young director became Moscow-famed among those who are interested in theatre. But his next stage productions “ The First Draught of Vassa Zheleznova ” by M.Gorky (1978) and “ The Grown Daughter of a Young Man ” by V.Slavkin (1979) staged in the Stanislavski Theatre brought him the real success. In the process of his artistic activity there was organized a group of actors who continued their acting together and with Vasiliev later.

In the beginning of 80ies Anatoly Vasiliev and his group of actors had to leave the Stanislavsky Theatre. In 1982 Yuri Lubimov invited Anatoly Vasiliev to work in the Taganka Theatre. Thus, in July 1985 on the Small stage of the Taganka theatre the premiere of a new performance “ Cerceau ” by V.Slavkin directed by Anatoly Vasiliev took place. “ Cerceau ” was voted the best performance of thetare season 1985-86.

On February 24, 1987 the theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” under the direction of Anatoly Vasiliev was officially open and the presentation of the new performance “ Six Characters in Search of an Author ” by Luigi Piradello took place. By that time there were two performances directed by Anatoly Vasiliev in the repertoire of the theatre – “Six Characters in Search of an Author” and “Cerceau” by Victor Slavkin (“Cerceau” was staged by A.Vasiliev in 1985 in the Taganka theatre). Next few years these performances presented abroad brought to Anatoly Vasiliev the real success.

In 1987 Moscow theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” toured abroad with the performance “Cerceau ” for the first time. “ Cerceau ” was presented in the festivals in Stuttgart, Rotterdam, London, Belgrade. It was also performed in Helsinki, Budapest, Munich, Western Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Rome.
“ Six Characters in Search of an Author ” was presented in the festivals in Vienna, Milano, Avignon, Hvar, Western Berlin, Palermo, Prato, London, Montreal, New York, Mexico and Wroclaw.

On the venue of the theatre “School of Dramatic Art” Anatoly Vasiliev staged the following performances: “ Today We Improvise ” by L.Pirandello (1990) ; “ Fiorenza ” by T.Mann (1993) ; “ Joseph and His Brothers ” by T.Mann (1993) ; “ Amphytrion ” by Moliere (1994) ; “ The Lamentation of Jeremiah ”, the book of Jeremian, sung, composer Vladimir Martynov (1996) – in 1997 the performance “ The Lamentation of Jeremiah ” was awarded the National Theatre Premium “ The Golden Mask ” in two nominations : “ As the best performance ” and “ For the best scenography ” ; “ A.S.Pushkin. “ Don Juan, or “ the Stone Guest ” and Other Verses ” (1998) ; A.S.Pushkin “ To *** ” (1999) ; A.S.Pushkin “ Mozart and Salieri/V.Martynov “ Requiem ” (2000) ; “ Pushkin Matinée ” (2000). The performance “ Medée – Materiaux ” by Heiner Muller (2001) is the last premiere of the theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ”.

The performance “ Amphytrion ” was on toures in Bratislawa, Scopie, Taormina. It was presented in the festivals “ Theater Formen ” (Braunshweig), “ Ibero Americano de Theatro ” (Bogota, Columbia), “ Festival delle Culture ” (Leche, Italy), Fabrica Europa (Florence) and in the Festival d’Avignon.
The performance “ The Lamentation of Jeremiah ” was awarded the National Premium of Russia The Golden Mask in two nominations : “ As the best performance ” and “ For the best scenography ”. “ The Lamentation of Jeremiah ” was presented in the festival Taormina Arte, in the festivals in Berlin, Avignon, Goeteborg (Sweden) and in Stockholm within the framework of the programme Stockholm – Cultural Capital of Europe’ 98, in Sevilla, Barcelona.
The performance “ A.S.Pushkin. “ Don Juan, or “ the Stone Guest ” and Other Verses ” was performed in Theatre du Soleil in Paris and in the Centre of Studies on Jerzy Grotowski"s Work and of the Cultural and Theatrical Research in Wroclaw, Poland.

The performance A.S.Pushkin “ To *** ” was on tour in Theatre Moliere in Paris. The performance A.S.Pushkin “ Mozart and Salieri ” was presented in Teatro Valle in Rome.

Anatoly Vasiliev also staged several performances abroad : “ Bal Masque ” by Lermontov, Comedie Francaise (1992), “ The Uncle’s Dream ” by F.Dostoevsky, Budapest Art’s Theatre (1994), “ The Queen of Spades ”, by P.Chaikovsky, National German Theatre and State Weimar Chappel (1996), “ More Sinned against than Sinning ” by A.Ostrovsky, Siglighetti Theatre, Hungary (1998), “Amphytrion” by Moliere, Comedie Francaise (2002).

Anatoly Vasiliev has been already teaching at GITIS since 1981, at first as a teacher on the course supervised by A.Efros and sinse 1984 as a course supervsor.

The theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” created by Anatoly Vasiliev is a unique model of theatre from the point of view of its artistic, intellectual, professional and ethic relations. The concept of the “ theatre – laboratory ” gives the opportunity to fulfil the research and experiment. As a result of the seminars and laboratory researches in the “ School of Dramatic Art ” there appear new performances, there are conducted open rehearsals devoted to a certain author, to a text or to a theme.

For the time of its existence in the theatre-laboratory there were staged the following performances (as laboratory works) : “ Dumas ” - chapters from the novels by A.Dumas (1987), “ Vis-a-Vis ” - chapters from the novels by F.Dostoevskoy (1988), “ Demons ” based on the novel by F.Dostoevsky (1988), “ An evening with Maupaussant ” (1988), “ Dialogues ” by Plato (1988, 1990), “ Simple Talks ” by Erasmus (1989), “ Oscar Wild. “ The Critic as an Artist ” (1989), “ The Republic ” by Plato (1992), “ Evening with Moliere ” (1992), A.S.Pushkin “ Conversations with a Poet ” (1994), “ Pushkin evenings ” (“ Mozart and Salieri ”, “ The Stone Guest ” and Other Verses in dialogues and interludes ”, “ Evgueni Oneguin ”, 1995), “ Homer. Iliada ” (1997, 2001), “ Puskin Matinee ” (2000).

Besides, several joint projects were realized : “ Vis-a-Vis ” based on the novel by F.Dostoevsky “ Idiot ” with Centro Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, 1992 ; “ I am a Seagull ” based on the plays by A.Chekhov, 1991 ; “ Each in His Own Way ” based on the play by L.Prandello with University of Rome, Centro Teatro Ateneo and Theatro di Roma, 1993 ; projects with Academe Experimentale des Theatres under the direction of Mm Michelle Kokosowski, 1993, 1996, 2001 ; projects with Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards in Pontedera, 1993,1996, 1999 ; the theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” is a participant of a joint international project of theatre organizations of European Countries of “ Ecole des Maitres ”. Sessions of Ecole des Maitres directed by A.Vasiliev and M.Langhoff took place in Moscow in 1997 and 1998.

In April 2001 Moscow theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ” was accepted in the Union des Theatres de l’Europe.
Anatoly Vasiliev is the author of the books : “ A propos de Bal Masque de Mikhail Lermontov ”, “ Szinhazi Fuga ”, “ Sept ou huit lecons du theatre ”, “ Ione e Menone di Platone ”, “ A un unico lettore ”.

Anatoly Vasiliev is a laureate of Russian Stanislavsky Premium (1988), holder of the “ Order of the Cavalier of Art and Literature ” (France, 1989), laureate of the premium “ Nuove Realita Europee ” (Taormina, Italy, 1990), and the winner “ Chaos prize ” - the Pirandello prize (Agrigento, Italy, 1992), the Honoured Art Worker of Russia (1993), the laureate of the premium of Stanislasky Fund for the contribution into the development of theatre pedagogics (Russia, 1995).

In 1999 Anatoly Vasiliev and Igor Popov were awarded the State Premium of Russia in the field of Literature and Art for the creation of Moscow theatre “ School of Dramatic Art ”.

In 2001 they were awarded the National Premium “ Triumph ”.