Tender Trap here Friday
Saturday - August 19, 1961
Last Update: 03-03-2012
Norris Houghton said yesterday that the theatre in the Soviet Union, was "at a more interesting condition than at any time since the Nineteen Thirties."
"There has been a softening of the propaganda element in drama and an increase in the romantic and sentimental elements," he added.
Mr. Houghton, co-founder of the Phoenix Theatre, recently returned from an eight - month trip abroad, part of which was under a Guggenheim fellowship and the cultural exchange agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States. In addition to Russia, Mr. Houghton went to fourteen countries in Europe and the Near East, including France, Germany, Britain, Yugoslavia and Poland.
"There was a long period in the Soviet Union in which all the arts were frozen by the im-1 position of socialist realism," Mr. Houghton said.
"After Stalin's death there was a thaw. This has been reflected in the arts. In the theatre, specifically, this has come in terms of the relaxation of the label of socialist realism. Particularly since 1957, the theatre has been opening up, providing much more variety and style."
Criticism in Allegory
One of the "most interesting" Soviet playwrights, Mr. Houghton believes, is Eugene Schwartz. "He specializes in plays based on Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, He makes political comments in allegorical terms."
Mr. Houghton said that the biggest hit of the year in Moscow has been "An Irkutsk Story" by Alexei Arbuzov. It is about the lives and loves of young Soviet people on a Siberian construction project. The play has been presented in many European cities. "It sort of sums up the Soviet tendencies in the theatre - toward a more human story."
He added, "One of the things that overwhelms you is the Soviet education for theatre. They have fabulous schools of drama. The training for theatre is thorough. Most of the schools are administered and operated by theatres. There are five schools in Moscow. I don't know how many others are elsewhere."
Theatre attendance also impressed Mr. Houghton. "It's almost possible to say you never see an empty seat in Moscow, which has twenty-five theatres.
They put on many of the classics, both Russian and foreign - Shakespeare, Sheridan, Schiller, Moliere."
Several of Arthur Miller's plays have been put on in Moscow and other Soviet cities. "Death of a Salesman" is a "great success there."
Guthrie Award Winners
Three members of the Stratford (Ont.) Shakespearean Festival have been named winners of the 1961 Tyrone Guthrie Award. The awards, ranging from $1,200 to $1,500, went to Lewis Gordon, a member of the acting company; Thomas Bohdanetzky, stage manager, and Sophie Martin, resident milliner for the festival. The award was established by the acting company in 1954 in appreciation for the leadership given by Mr. Guthrie. The money is raised through an annual benefit performance.
`Tender Trap' Here Friday
"The Tender Trap" will be the fifth and final presentation of the summer comedy festival at the 41st Street Theatre. The show is scheduled to open Friday. Jean Shepherd will star.
Notes in Brief
Philip Minor will direct "Misalliance," opening at the Sheridan Square Playhouse Sept. 19 . Saeed Jaffrey has succeeded Bhaskar in the leading role of "King of the Dark Chamber."
Mr. Jaffrey will be co-featured with his wife, Madhur ... David Canary has joined "Hi, Paisano!" due Sept. 27 at the York Playhouse . . . J. Talbot Holland will appear in "Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole" . . . Renaye Fubler and Ainsley Sigmond have been added to "Kwamina." ||
|Not Determined yet|
|Engineer and others in Booth