Moscow: Izd. Vseros. teatral nogo obshchestva, 1934. First Edition. 4to (12 1/8 x 8 7/8 inches / 307 x 220 mm), xlvii ,1-195 (plates), , 199-211 (appendix),  pages, in publisher's original brown cloth, lacking the rare dust jacket. A celebration of Alexander Tairov's pathbreaking Kamerny Theatre in Moscow, featuring set and costume designs as well as scenes from the theatre's first 20 years. Text entirely in Russian Profusely illustrated in both color and black and white, the book showcases each production of the Kamerny, founded by Alexander Tairov (1885-1950 ) and his wife, the actress Alisa Koonen (1889-1974).Tairov brought many non-Russian productions to the Kamerny, including works by Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Eugene O'Neill, George Bernard Shaw, and Oscar Wilde. Tairov's productions were known for their magnificent set and costume designs, and he collaborated with some of the most acclaimed avant-garde artists of the day, including Alexandra Exter and Natalia Goncharova. Indeed, it's possible to see the evolution of 20th-century Russian art through the set and costume designs, which reflected Cubist, Constructivist, Rayonist, and even Art Deco influences. It was an exciting time in Soviet theatre; this era featured some of the greatest directors of the 20th century, such as Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, and Vakhtangov.The Kamerny was the scene of one of the most significant plays of the Soviet theatre, according to Nick Worrall in his authoritative study, "Modernism to Realism on the Soviet Stage" (Cambridge University Press, 1989). Vsevolod Vishnevsky's Russian civil-war play, Optimistic Tragedy, opened at the Kamerny on December 18, 1933. "It concerns particular historical events associated with the civil war in the Soviet Union but, more generally, it is an article of faith -- in the triumph of Life over Death, of the Collective over the Individual, of faith in the necessary tragedy of revolution, of the necessary destruction of those who oppose revolution, of hostility to the spirit of anarchism, and faith in the leadership of the party." Indeed, the play, which is featured in this book, marked an important milestone in the development of "socialist realism."The Soviet government closed the Kamerny Theatre in 1949, and Tairov died a year later. The Kamerny's home at 23 Tverskoy Boulevard is now occupied by the Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre.A stunning look at the first 20 years of the Kamerny Theatre, one of the most innovative theatres at an important moment in Soviet theatre history. SCARCE. Item #1169
CONDITION: Both boards rubbed, small scrape to rear paste down. Tissue guards separating each play, page 36 unpublished, according to list of illustrations in the appendix, plate 41 loose, some small closed tears in a few pages, plate 175 improperly trimmed, not affecting the illustration. Overall, Very Good or better.