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 Sergey Obraztsov


Born:   22 June (5 July) 1901
Deceased:   8 March 1992

Internationally famous Russian puppeteer, performer, actor, stage and film director

      

Sergey Vladimirovich Obraztsov was born on 22 June (5 July) 1901 in Moscow, into the family of Academician V. N. Obraztsov. After finishing school he entered the Painting Faculty of Vkhutemas (Higher Arts and Theatre Workshops). From 1922 to 1930 he was an actor of the Music Studio of MKhAT (from 1926 named Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre), and of the 2nd MKhAT from 1930 to 1936. In 1923 Obraztsov gave his first solo performance with puppets. Until 1931 Obraztsov combined his acting on stage of the music and drama theatres with concert performances.

In September 1931 Obraztsov became the art director of the newly founded State Central Puppet Theatre. The theatres first premiere that took place on 17 April 1932 was Jim and Dollar after A.Globas play. Doubtless about the ability of a puppet theatre to be useful and helpful to people, Sergey Obraztsov believed that the new theatres drama was to be born together with the theatre, in the process of its pursuits and experiments. Within 60 years of his work in the puppet theatre he staged more than 70 plays for children and grown-ups. The drama of his play productions was explosive and not too exquisite: Obraztsov was fond of parody, which enlivened performances for grown-ups, though they were equally addressed to kids also. His theatre toured in more than 350 cities of the USSR and 90 cities in foreign countries. The famous puppet collection of Sergey Obraztsov owned a lot to his international travels, from where he brought various original puppets.

The first short-length puppet film directed by Obraztsov was titled Looking at Polar Sunset Ray and appeared in 1938. It was followed by documentaries In London (1956), Story of Penguins (1958), The Camera Blames (1968), Unbelievable Truth (1970), and others. The play productions staged by Obraztsov included By a Wave of the Wand (1936), Christmas Eve (1941) after Gogols story, King Deer (1943) after Gozzis play, An Unusual Concert (1946) written by Obraztsov himself, Ilya Muromets, a Peasants Son (1951) by Kurdumov, The Divine Comedy (1961) and Noah's Ark (1968) by I. Shtok, etc.

The President of the International Union of Puppeteers (19761984, and from 1984 the President of Honour), a teaching professor in GITIS (from 1973), a member of the Writers Union of the USSR, the author of well-known books on art and of journalistic character (Actor with a Puppet, 1938; My Profession, 1950; About What I Saw, Learnt and Understood During Two Trips to London, 1956; The Theatre of Chinese People, 1957, etc.), Obraztsov staged play productions that were included in the Guinness Book of Records, sang romance songs, gave solo concerts and hosted culture programs on TV.

Sergey Vladimirovich Obraztsov died on 8 March 1992 and was laid to rest at the Novodevichi Cemetery. In 2006 his monument was set up near the Obraztsov Puppet Theatre, named after him

Aimed at preserving his richest creative legacy, the Obraztsov Foundation was established in 1998, the founders of which included the Obraztsovs family members, as well as figures of culture, arts and science, businessmen, and the Obraztsov Puppet Theatre.


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