Theatre Passing Place
This museum room as well as the theatre space is divided into the stage and the auditorium. On the stage – a Shakespeare play, as if it reminds us that “All the world’s a stage”, and on the opposite side there is the “Theatre passing place” where the reality overseen by Gogol becomes the subject of a theatre action.
William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” had been presented in the repertoire of the Petersburg drama troupe almost permanently; at different times, new ways of addressing the play signified not only the change of esthetic coordinates but also the evolution of ideological and often political preferences. For the first time, Hamlet was staged in Russia in the reconstruction of the “father of the Russian stage” A. Sumarokov back in the 18th century. Later on, the French adaptation by Dyusis had been performed. Translations by Viskovatov became an important step of William Shakespeare’s exploring. And in the 1830s, the great V. Karatygin starred in the performance produced by I. Sosnitsky on the base of a new translation by N. Polevoy. After Karatygin’s death in 1853, it was hard to find a replacement for him in this role. Afterwards, Hamlet returned again to the Alexandrinsky Stage. In the beginning of the 20th century the staging of Ozarovsky had a certain detailed elaboration, its costumes and set were created by an outstanding theatre artist Shervashidze. A major part of this collection has survived until today; we can still see the costumes in this hall.
In 1954, a famous cinema director Kozintsev directed his Hamlet on the Alexandrinsky Stage. N. I. Altman was the artist of this performance. Sketches and costumes created for this performance are represented in the hall. B. Freindlich acted the major role in this play. Afterwards, already in the 1990s, director R.A. Goryayev and artist M. F. Kitayev created two versions of Hamlet; where the part of Hamlet was played by V.F. Smirnov and A.L.Bargman, and the role of Gertrude by N.N.Urgant.
The Alexandrinsky audience, that, according to A. Pushkin, “was educating dramatic talents,” has always been very different. It represented various social layers of the Russian society, stuck to various esthetic opinions. N. Gogol described this “Alexandrinsky Babylon” in his dramatic sketch; and artist R.K. Zhukovsky depicted it on his well-known picture.
Actors of the Alexandrinsky Theatre could also truthfully and acutely impersonate the modern society on the stage. They had numerous observations and sharp professionalism as a medium. That is why we can see costumes of K.A. Varlamov from Krechinsky’s Marriage by A. Sukhovo-Kobylin, of P.V. Samoilov from the Woes of Wits performance, a dress coat of M.V.Dalsky in which the legendary actor came on the stage in Griboyedov’s comedy… The coats of the theatre doorkeepers of various periods are displayed in the side show-case.
From the middle of the 19th century, this and the adjacent rooms had been hosting the Theatre-Literary Committee of the Imperial Theatres; where prominent writers, dramatists, and theatre figures held meetings considering the fate of new plays and translations. Their recommendation let new dramatic compositions out into the stage.