Saturday, April 2, 2011

Extracts from the original film of "The Inspector General" performance, directed by V. Meyerhold.

"The Inspector General" A film by V. Meyerhold

Peter Brook: "(...) I saw a short video excerpt from his great show "The Inspector General" and I was amazed at the number of small gestures that one of his actors made. There, were not watching neither the system nor the method, but we did discover something far more important and far more useful: the work embodied. " (1)

I have the pleasure of sharing these excerpts that Brook saw a few years ago.

Meyerhold directing the film of "The Inspector General" performance.

Somewhere in Russia there must be the full version of this historic performance of Gogol's work "Revizor" (The Inspector General), but until now it's only accessible through some scenes; thanks to the development, in recent years, of some documentaries for Russian television, the original material has been remastered and excerpts that I show on this blog are, I think, of an admirable quality; in the few scenes shown here you can appreciate that "work embodied", as Peter Brook called it, where Meyerhold's search really becomes body and action in the scene itself. An admirable document.

This video complements the one I posted in this same blog months ago, Original film images from Meyerhold's Biomechanics, and which dedicated a few minutes to original scenes of the training exercises of Biomechanics.

Peter Brook: "I saw in Moscow some students who work very seriously on the biomechanics of Meyerhold, convinced that he taught it the same way. But even if one limits the biomechanics to this precise form, I do not think it can be useful for any montages today. " (2)

By publishing these documents it is not intended that we try to repeat what the teachers have done or to seek to imitate their work in an exact way, but to observe in a direct line their work and learn from them. As I always say, I believe that these original documents of the great creators of the theater scene place us, with much more clarity, in their "real" contributions, with every myth that has been created around them slowly fading away.

As Peter Brook did when he saw these excerpts, we can discover how Meyerhold applied his exploratory work, how far did his applied training go, his practical solutions on the scene. We can not (yet) hear the words of Meyerhold during a training or a montage, but we can indeed see the actual movements of his actors and compare them with descriptions from others and with texts by Meyerhold himself, and then analyze them and place them in our mind with greater precision. I strongly believe that, by doing that, we can learn much more from those experiences in order to consolidate our own creations.

Video: Extracts from "The Inspector General", a film by Meyerhold.

(1) That is a free translation from the original in French: "(...) j'ai vu la video d'un court extrait de son grand spectacle Le Revizor et j'ai été stupéfait par la série de petit gestes que faisait l'un de ses acteurs. A Travers ce minuscule extrait, on pouvait ressentir ce que Meyerhold cherchait, pourquoi il le cherchait. On n'y voyait ni le sistème, ni la méthode, mais on y découvrait quelque chose de plus important et de plus utile: le travail incarné." (Avec Grotowski. By Peter Brook. Préface de George Banu. Actes Sud-Papiers. France, 2009.)

(2) That is a free translation from the original in French: "J'ai vu à Moscou des élèves très sérieux qui travaillaient sur la biomécanique de Meyerhold convaincus qu'il l'enseignait de cette façon. Mais, même si on limite fidèlement la biomécanique à cette forme, je ne crois pas qu'elle puisse aujourd'hui être utile à une quelconque ouvre." (Avec Grotowski. By Peter Brook. Préface de George Banu. Actes Sud-Papiers. France, 2009.)

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