History

 

At the end of 1913 the group of Moscow students created a Student Dramatical association. Evgeny Vakhtangov, a thirty year old actor and director of The Art Theatre, who had already made himself a reputation of the best teacher within Stanislavsky’s school, was the one who agreed to guide the steps of the studies in the new-born studio.

Vakhtangov had a dream of having his own small and cozy theatre. “Faces pleasant to gaze upon. Kind eyes. Tremulous feelings. One is a friend to all. Tenderly, carefully we step into the soul of everyone. Honest and loving. With a sense of sanctity. Nothing rude and nothing rough.” This is what Evgeny Vakhtangov imagined his theatre to be.

On the 13th of September 1920 Evgeny Vakhtangov’s studio was accepted by The Art Theatre as his Third studio. The premiere of “The Miracle of Saint Anthony” by Maurice Maeterlinck, which Vakhtangov had put on stage became the day of birth of the theatre.

At the beginning of 1922, Carlo Gozzi’s “Princess Turandot”, a veritable phenomenon of the 20th century, drew thunderous applause around Moscow. A sunny, cheerful performance, directed by Evgeny Vakhtangov as he neared his own death in the cold and foodless year of 1922, proclaimed life, love, and kindness.

Stanislavsky had highly appreciated the work of his follower. After the performance was shown, he turned to those who worked on “Princess Turandot” and said: “The Art Theatre was founded three years ago and since that time there were not so many victories like this one. You finally found what other theatres were so hardly looking for”. “Princess Turandot”, in some respect, became the school of acting for all forthcoming generations of Vakhtangov’s theatres.

“No feast – no performance”, Vakhtangov proclaimed in his famous article “The artist has to answer!”. This motto has defined the creative life of the theatre ever since.

Evgeny Vakhtangov never created a system, as Konstantin Stanislavsky did, moreover, he could not create it as that would mean a top-stone and a closure. However, Vakhtangov, basing upon Stanislavsky’s system, created the new beginning that has no ending whatsoever, as the essence of his work concludes in the experience of achieving harmony through actor so that a human being becomes the true creator.

When we speak about Vakhtangov’s art we deal with the mystery that Vakhtangov took away after lifting a veil for a moment. It will take us eternity to riddle his mystery, for this reason Evgeny Vakhtangov will remain present forevermore.