Moscow Art Theatre


Moscow Art Theatre
(MAT) in the United States.
   Producer Morris Gest brought the prestigious Moscow Art Theatre to the United States, ostensibly to demonstrate the value of ensemble acting over the star-dominated Broadway theatre. Many American actors, directors, and playwrights were dazzled by the quality of the MAT's achievement under the direction of Konstantin Stanislavski. The MAT's first tour from 8 January-31 March 1923 featured all Russian plays, including Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich, The Lower Depths, Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and A Provincial Lady. The engagement was a critical and commercial success despite the fact that the MAT performed only in Russian. Although Stanislavski reportedly felt that Anton Chekhov's plays were no longer relevant, they were included in the repertory anyway and proved to be the more successful selections with American audiences. American artists embraced the MAT's dynamic ensemble playing, and the company's influence long reverberated in American theatre. The MAT returned for an eight-city tour from November 1923 to May 1924, with an expanded repertory: Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, Carlo Goldoni's The Mistress of the Inn, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko's adaptation of The Brothers Karamazov, A. N. Ostrovsky's Diary of a Scoundrel, and Chekhov's Ivanov. Due to sociopolitical upheavals in postrevolutionary Soviet Russia, several MAT members chose to remain in the United States, including Richard Boleslavsky, Maria Ouspenskaya, Leo and Barbara Bulgakov, Akim Tamiroff, and Vera Soloviova.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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