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Eisenstein Montage of Attractions

Eisenstein Montage of Attractions

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Eisenstein montage of attractions
Eisenstein montage of attractions

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Montage of Attractions: For "Enough Stupidity in Every Wiseman"Author(s): Sergei Eisenstein and Daniel GerouldSource:
The Drama Review: TDR,
Vol. 18, No. 1, Popular Entertainments (Mar., 1974), pp. 77-85Published by: The MIT PressStable URL:
Accessed: 02/02/2010 11:33
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Montage
of
Attractions
ForEnoughStupidityinEveryWiseman
By SergeiEisenstein
1.THE THEATRICALDIRECTIONOF THEPROLETKULTJusta fewwords. The theatricalprogramoftheProletkultdoes notinvolvethe"utilization of thevalues ofthepast"or the"invention of new formsof theatre" buttheabolition of theveryinstitution of the theatre assuch,replacingit with ashow-placeforachievementsinthe theatreorwithaninstrument forraisingthe standard oftrainingof themassesintheirday-to-daylife. The realtaskofthe scientificsectionoftheProletkultinthe fieldof thetheatreis toorganizetheatre studiosandto workoutascientificsystemforraisingthis standard.Allthe restthat isbeingdone is"provisional";to fulfillsecondary,notbasic,aimsoftheProletkult.The"provisional"runsalongtwo lines under thegeneralheadingofrevolutionarycontent.1.Representational-narrativetheatre(static,real-life-theright wing):theProlet-kult'sZori,'Lena,2and a seriesof notfullyrealizedproductionsof the sametype-thisbeingthedirection of theformer Workers Theatre withtheCentral Committee ofProletkult.2.Agit-attractiontheatre(dynamicandeccentric-the leftwing):thedirectionpromotedbymeincollaborationwithB.Arvatov,chieflyfor the work of thetouringcompanyof theMoscowProletkult.Initsembryonicform,but withsufficientclarity,thisdirection hasalreadybeenpointedoutin TheMexican3-aproductionbytheauthor ofthepresentessayincollaboration withV.C.Smyshlyaev4(theFirstStudioof theMAT).Then,inournextcollaborativework(OverthePrecipicebyV.Pletnyov),5atotaldifference ofopinionon basicissues leadtoasplitbetween us andthemountingof newworks, i.e.,myTheWiseman andhis TheTamingof theShrew,notto mention TheTechniqueofConstructingaStageProductionbySmyshlyaev,whofailedtoseethe fullvalueofwhathad beenaccomplishedin TheMexican.Iconsider thisdigressionnecessarysinceeveryreviewof TheWiseman thattries tore-lateittoanyotherproductionswhatsoeverutterlyfails tomentionTheMexican(January-March1921),whereas TheWisemanandthewholetheoryofattractionsareafurtherelaborationandlogicaldevelopmentofwhatIintroducedinthatproduc-tion.'ZoriProletkultiwas aperformancebytheProletkult,nwhich thepoetryofproletarianpoets
wasdramatized. It wasintended asan answertoMeyerhold's productionin1920 of EmileVerhaeren'sLesAubes(Zori).2AplaybyVelerianPletnyovaboutevents on the LenaRiver inSiberia in1912. It waspresentedfor theopeningof theMoscowProletkult Theatre in1921. Eisensteinwas one of theartists whoworked on thestaging.3TheMexicanwas adramatizationof aJackLondonstory.It wasEisenstein'sfirstproduction(withSmyshlyaev)attheProletkultin1921. Eisensteinalso did thecostumes andscenery.4ValentinSmyshlyaevwas anactor anddirector from theFirstStudio of theMoscow ArtTheatre,who workedwith theProletkult andwrote abookTheTechniqueofConstructingaStageProduction,publishedbytheProletkult. In1923,hedirected TheTamingof theShrew at theMAT.5PresentedattheProletkultin1922.
 
SERGEI EISENSTEIN
3. TheWiseman,begun bythe Peretru6(andcompletedasajointenterpriseofthetwocompanies),was the firstwork,in termsofagit,basedonthe newmethodofconstructingaperformance.II.MONTAGE OFATTRACTIONSSincethisconceptisbeingused for thefirsttime,itrequiressomeexplanation.Thespectatorhimselfconstitutesthebasic materialof thetheatre;theobjectiveofeveryutilitariantheatre(agit, poster,healtheducation,etc.)istoguidethespectatorinthedesireddirection(frameofmind).Themeansofachievingthis are allthecomponentpartsofthe theatricalapparatus(Ostyzhev's7"chatter"nomore thanthecolor oftheprimadonna'stights,astrokeon thekettledrum asmuch asasoliloquyofRomeo,thecricketon thehearth8nolessthan asalvo underthe seatsof thespecta-tors. In alltheirheterogeneity,all thecomponentpartsof thetheatricalapparatusarereducedtoasingleunit-therebyjustifyingtheirpresence-bybeingattractions.Anattraction(inrelation tothetheatre)isany aggressiveaspectof thetheatre;thatis,anyelementof thetheatrethatsubjectsthespectatortoasensual orpsychologicalimpact,experimentally regulatedandmathematicallycalculatedtoproducein himcertainemotionalshockswhich,whenplacedin theirpropersequencewithinthetotalityoftheproduction,become theonlymeansthatenablethespectatortoperceivetheideologicalsideofwhatisbeingdemonstrated-theultimateideologicalconclusion.(Themeans ofcognition-"throughtheliving playofpassions"-applyspecificallytothetheatre.)Sensual andpsychological,ofcourse,areto beunderstood inthe senseofimmediatereality,in thewaythat these arehandled,forexample, bytheGrandGuignoltheatre:gougingouteyesorcuttingoffarms andlegsonthestage-oracharacteronstageparticipatingbytelephoneinaghastlyevent tenmilesaway;or theplightofadrunkardwhosenseshisapproachingdeath,andwhosecries forhelparetakenas de-liriumtremens-not interms ofthedevelopmentofpsychological problemswheretheattractionisalreadythethemeof theplayitself-athemethat existsandfunctionsevenoutsideoftheplay'sactionprovidedthat itissufficientlytopical.(Thisisanerrorintowhichagit-theatresfall,satisfiedwithonlythis kindofattractionintheirproduc-tions).Ontheformallevel,byanattractionImean anindependentandprimaryelement intheconstruction ofaperformance-amolecular(thatis,component)unitof ef-fectiveness intheatreandoftheatreingeneral.ItisfullyanalogoustoGrosz's"store-houseofimages"orRodchenko's"elementsofphoto-illustrations.""Component":Justas itisdifficulttodeterminewherethefascinationof thehero'snobility(thepsychologicalaspect)endsandtheaspectofhispersonalcharm(thatis,hissensualmagnetism)begins,thelyriceffect ofaseries ofscenesbyChaplinisin-separablefromtheattractionof thespecificmechanicsofhismovements-so itisdifficulttodeterminewherereligiouspathosgiveswaytosadisticsatisficationinthescenesofmartyrdomintheMysteryPlay,etc.Anattractionhasnothingincommon withatrick.Atrick,orrather,astunt(Itis time6Abbreviationor themobiletroupeoftheMoscowProletkultTheatre.7AlexanderOstyzhevwas awell-knownactor oftheperiodwhoappearedasRomeo,Othello,and inmanyotherclassicroles.'Areference tothedramatizationofDickens'TheCricketon theHearthpresentedbythe FirstStudioof theMAT n1915.
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