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 Anatoly Efros

Born:   June 3, 1925
Deceased:   January 13, 1987

Russian film director, screenwriter, teacher, Merited Artist of Russia


Anatoly Efros was born on July 3, 1925 in Kharkov. Since childhood he was interested in theater and read a lot about Stanislavsky and his stage plays. In 1944 he entered the Directors’ Faculty of GITIS (the State Institute of Theatrical Arts). 

Anatoly Efros staged his first plays at the Ryazan Theater, and as soon as 1954 he became the principal director of the Central Children's Theater, which stopped being interesting for children only and was turned by him into a popular Moscow theater. Anatoly Efros staged there 14 plays that were extremely modern both in form and in content and were a great success, namely Good Luck, In Search of Pleasure, Unequal Battle, My Friend, Kolka! and others. 
Having made the Central Children’s Theatre popular, Anatoly Efros was appointed the principal director of the Lenkom Theater in 1963 to revive it too. The theater company consisted of actors, whose names at once gained fame all over Moscow:  Valentin Gaft, Alexander Zbruyev, Mikhail Derzhavin, Lev Durov, Alexander Shirvindt, Yury Kolychev, Olga Yakovleva, and others. The plays staged by Efros there made him one of the best stage directors in Russia:  On the Wedding Day by Rozov, and 104 Pages about Love by Radzinsky. Classical plays, such as Chekhov’s The Seagull and Bulgakov’s Molière won him universal acclaim. 
In every possible way Anatoly Efros avoided games of politics, since he considered politics unseemly for the theater. Such an attitude was not in line with ideology engrafted in the Soviet theater of that time and so he was soon dismissed from the post of the Lenkom Theatre director. He shifted with a group of actors to the Malaya Bronnaya Theatre in 1967 and became a stage director there. 
In the following 17 years Anatoly Efros staged over 20 plays, including Three Sisters by Chekhov, Romeo and Juliette and Othello by Shakespeare, Don Juan by Molière, Marriage by Gogol, and A Month in the Country by Turgenev. He mostly resorted to classics as a way to avoid the Soviet subject matters. And yet, he made a few modern play productions as well, such as Happy Days of an Unhappy Person, Fairy Tales of Old Arbat, An Outsider, Stage Director, and others. Anatoly Efros also staged plays in other Moscow theaters, as well as abroad. 
His works as a film director, namely The Leap Year, Two in the Steppe, On Thursday and Never Again, and others, as well as a number of teleplays Islands in the Ocean, Tartuffe, and Romeo and Juliette evoked a wide response. In addition to that, Anatoly Efros wrote a lot, worked on the radio and taught in GITIS (State Institute of Theatrical Arts). He is also known as the author of books and articles on the dramatic art. 
In 1984 Anatoly Efros was appointed the main stage director of the Taganka Drama Theater, having replaced Yury Lyubimov, who had been compelled to emigrate. Though part of the troupe never accepted him, Anatoly Efros directed several successful play productions there: The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky and The Misanthrope by Molière's, The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, and others.
That stage of life became especially dramatic for Anatoly Efros. He was involved in games of politics, which he always shunned. The last years were overclouded by increases internal conflicts in the theater and all-around. It was way too much for his heart… Anatoly Efros died of a heart attack on January 13, 1987 in Moscow and was buried at the Kuntsevo Cemetery.

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