Homepage :: International activities :: Notes from Moscow (2004)
For the last several years the Moscow Art Theater School has trained sizeable groups of students from the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University, including actors, directors and dramaturgs. In spring 2004, five dramaturgs participated and their number is increasing every year. For three months they attended a wide assortment of plays in Moscow and met with many leading Russian directors, playwrights and actors. Throughout this time they maintained a group diary and consequently they developed a kind of theater chronicle or special journal: “Moscow through the Eyes of American Dramaturgs.”

Being unaware of the social order that is generally accepted here, these American student dramaturgs often think outside our normal points of view and respected clichés. Their observations about Russian theater life are sometimes not fully formed, and at times they could even be considered “irresponsible.” But in any case, they are always sincere. The dramaturgs did not have a strict plan of work, nor did they have the pressure of a special “agenda” to communicate to their readers. It was not even clear who their readers might eventually be.

However, when the diaries were all assembled, it was clear to me that it would be important to present the observations of our American colleagues to all those English-speaking readers who might be interested. Moreover, next season we plan to continue our electronic “Russian-American Theatre Journal.” We hope that after several years the collected observations of American students might acquire a kind of special meaning, just as any opinion would do when it is freely expressed without prejudice by people from a different theater and different culture.

One final note. This collective diary, composed in Moscow in spring 2004, is being presented simultaneously on the websites of the Moscow Art Theater School and the American Repertory Theater. In this way, both Russian and American readers will have the opportunity to share in the results…

Anatoly Smeliansky
Moscow Art Theatre School

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