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In medias res: A Diary of the Moscow Theater Season, 2007-2008

Monika Greenleaf
Slavic Review
Vol. 67, No. 2 (Summer, 2008), pp. 422-436
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27652852
Page Count: 15
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In medias res: A Diary of the Moscow Theater Season, 2007-2008
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Abstract

In this essay, Monika Greenleaf explores some reasons for, and directions of, the Moscow theater's growth as a cultural stimulus in Vladimir Putin's increasingly imperial, ideologically unified Russia. Focusing on four factors, the first part suggests why the theater, unlike the film industry, resisted collapse in the 1990s: directors' studio theaters, the new "writer's theater," the development of "autonomous and self-sustaining" institutions, and theater finance. The second part examines two functions of the theater in a postliterate age: to forge a richer sense of Russian identity by offering mimetic contact with, and choice among, many epochs of its historical and verbal heritage and to offer a traditional locus of resistance to the new regime of privatized spaces and bodies. Using a selection of current plays that reproduce past prose works in the present, Greenleaf analyzes the aesthetic effect of this encounter on the audience and its potential ideational ramifications.

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