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Book Reviews ters. He shows us that the details of this uneventful plot accumulate - they do not progress nor proceed. Quite like Waiting for Godor, here we have a version of "While Wanting to Go to Moscow." In between lime, love and work - that Freudian couplet prove insufficient. Time piles up. "What keeps the sisters where they are?" Gilman asks. "The text." Gilman ends the Three Sisters .chapter with a grim one-word sentence : "Stamina." All of this is not to say that Gilman neglects the comedic aspects of Chekhov's work, particularly in The Cherry Orchard. Comedy in Chekhov, howsoever difficult and mirthless is remains, "rests on the question of fate and destiny; how it unfolds and whether or not it's free to some degree." Be that as it may, Gilman's book persuades more when he suggests that through the grimness "what at a distance appeared to be shadowy folds turns out to be an aperture into Eternity." EILEEN FISCHER, NEW YORK CITY TECHNICAL COLLEGE OF CUNY EDWARD BRAUN . Meyerhold: A Revolution in Theatre. Iowa City: Iowa University Press 1995· Pp. 347, illustrated. $35·00. Meyerhold and Stanislavsky seem to define antithetical poles of twentieth-century attitudes toward theatre: theatricalism and psychological realism; the actor as director's pawn and the actor as independent artist; the playas pretext for production and the play as the fount of creativity. But this schema seriously overSimplifies reality. It ignores Meyerhold's lifelong respect for his teacher. (Meyerhold's critical barbs were directed at the excesses of the Moscow An Theatre's main stage and at NemirovichDanche ~ko, not at Stanislavsky's work in the studios.) This schema also ignores Stanislavsky's passionate commitment to theatrical experimentation, and his bold support of Meyerhold during the height of Stalin's bloody purges throughout the arts' community. Since the late 1960s, Edward Braun has helped clarify the history of Meyerhold's complex career. His two classic books, Meyerhold on Theatre (the anthology that first appeared in 1969) and The Theatre ofMeyerhold (his critical study published in 1979), offered the most complete information available in English. However, in the 1960s and 1970S, even the best information was scanty. We knew that Meyerhold had been arrested, but we knew nothing of the torture he endured and the trumped-up charges of treason brought against him. We suspected that he had been executed, but had no confirmation . Similarly, we knew that Stanislavsky remained at home for the last four years of his life, never returning to his theatre, but we did not know that Stalin had chosen internal exile for him. Nor had we any idea of his tortured correspondence with his country's leader. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the opening of sealed archives, these old mysteries can now be solved. In 1989, the KGB released records of Meyerhold's imprisonment and death. Also in 1989, Anatoly Smelyansky (dramturge of the Moscow Art Theatre) uncovered the correspondence between Stanislavsky and Book Reviews Stalin. Edward Braun has responded with welcome revisions of his classic books. He reissued his anthology in 1991 , and has significantly rewritten his critical study and retitled it Meyerhold: A Revolution in Theatre. The bibliography in MeyerhoJd testifies to the extent of Braun's revisions. He includes all major studies about the director published from.1980 to the present. Moreover , he incorporates into the fabric of his book the latest work of scholars such as Konstantin Rudnitky, John Freedman, Marjorie Hoover, Beatrice Picon-Vallin. Paul Schmidt, Anatoly Smelyansky, and Maya Silkovetskaya. These resources provide expanded infonnation on Meyerhold's work in the provinces, his fascinating approaches to operatic production, and his rmal horrific months. These additions make Braun's book one o·f scope and value. In short, Braun has succeeded in keeping his study of Meyerhold not only current, but the most complete of its kind in English. By Braun's own admission, "My aim is to provide a comprehensive appraisal of a unique career that spanned forty years and remains seminal in the development of Western theatre up to the present day" (4). He does so admirably by tracing in detail the various productions that comprise this extraordinary...


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