Introducing the etudes


-Devised after the revolution

-Mikhail Gnesin taught musicality, Meyerhold taught Movement, Vladmir Soloviev taught commedia dell’ arte.

Original etude titles:

  • Leap on the back
  • Slap on the face
  • Blow the nose
  • Juggling
  • Playing with a stick
  • Horses
  • The Fool

1938 – Meyerholds theatre was shut down. He was imprisoned and finally executed. His name was erased from all theatre documents.

1970’s- Became possible to talk about Biomechanics again. Nikolai Kustov at the theatre of Satire in the 1970’s, began teaching biomechanics to a small group.

What kinds if images came to mind when you look at these? What sort of theatre was Meyerhold devising with this kind of training? If you were to break down one of the etudes into separate actions, what would those actions look like?

This kind of reminds me of melodrama as the emphasis is on the movement. It also reminds me of mime as the spectator was encouraged to use their own imagination.

Biomechanics has a strong emphasis on rhythm which makes me think of melodrama again as it is almost like a choreographed dance. Meyerhold was clearly trying to create a physical form of theatre that looks at physicality, expression and rhythm. With Meyerhold’s work he didn’t care about making his audience believe it was real – in face he embraced the idea of the ‘theatre as a construct’.

The Slap’ etude: An Overview

-Its a pair etdue – Designated active and passive roles – Roles swap halfway through etude so no heirachy or agressor

-Active actor on the right at the start then swaps to the actor on the left

Personally, I think that the etude provides physical control and flexibility. The movement i almost reminiscient of martial arts but with the added element of emotion. Actors would have to be operating in perfect harmony for their etude to be symmetrical , balanced and complementary. This etude is very dancy.