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 Aleksei Arbuzov


Born:   May 26, 1908
Deceased:   April 20, 1986

Soviet playwright

      

Aleksei Arbuzov was born on May 26 (13), 1908 in Moscow. Due to hard family circumstances, such as his father’s cutting loose from the family and his mother’s sickness Aleksei found himself homeless: from the age of 11 the boy was a tramp and was sent to the colony of troubled children.

A fit-up theater which happened to come his way gave the boy a new guiding landmark in life. At first he became an actor and then the stage director of Live Newspapers in Leningrad and the art director in Agitvagon (1928–1929). At the same time he started trying his wings at playwriting.

In the early 1930s Arbuzov moved to Moscow, where he attended a drama school and soon became the manager of the literary department of the Proletkult theater.

Paying tribute to esthetic tendencies of “new” art with its inclination to motto straightforwardness and at the same time factual accuracy and “industrial” subject matter, Arbuzov made the relevant repertoire. He had it in mind to write a play about miners and went to the Donbass working settlement for that purpose; he also got to know life experiences at factories and building sites.

At the same time Aleksei Arbuzov got interested in Meyerhold’s Theater;  the beginning playwright joined a circle of creative youth formed around the stage director Erast Garin (A. Gladkov, I.Shtok, V. Pluchek and others). Arbuzov’s first great success was with his comedy Six Darlings (1935). 

 
In May, 1938 Pluchek, Arbuzov and Gladkov founded The State Drama Moscow Studio. Within a few months they gave more than 40 performances, which stirred debates in the Moscow State University and Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature and History. During the Great Patriotic War part of studio was turned into the Frontline Theater.  
 
It was the play Tanya that gained fame to the playwright. The play was staged in nearly all theaters of the country. It became a landmark work for Maria Babanova, who played Tanya at the Revolution Theater.  The play Irkutsk Story (1959) was a great and long success in Russia and abroad. Aleksei Arbuzov had lots of other works that were popular in various theatres. 
 
A wise and kind person, Aleksei Arbuzov in due time supported Alexander Volodin, Alexander Vampilov, Lyudmila Petrushevskaya and many other beginning writers. 
 
Aleksei Nikolaevich Arbuzov died on April 20, 1986 in Moscow.
 


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