• Alexander Khvostenko-Khvostov, scene design for the “waterless flood” in act 1 of Mayakovsky’s Mystery-Bouffe. This production, directed by Grigory Avlov at the Kharkov Heroic Theatre (1921), was one of over a dozen that followed in the immediate wake of Meyerhold and Bebutov’s May 1921 staging at Theatre RSFSR 1. Cardboard, pencil, gouache, collage, 58 × 78.2 cm. КП 310777. Copyright © A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, Moscow.

Scene design for act 1 of Mystery-Bouffe

From The Director's Prism: E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Russian Theatrical Avant-Garde by Dassia N. Posner

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  • This design for the opening of Mystery-Bouffe depicts a half globe topped by the North Pole. International survivors of the “waterless flood” of Revolution slowly make their way onto it. Moscow and Kharkov are marked on the globe, a reference to a different waterless flood, a theatrical one: this was one of many productions of the play that opened in the immediate wake of Meyerhold’s. Behind the globe, shards of bold color pierce the sky, at once recalling the Northern Lights and light refracted through a rainbow prism.

    See book: p. 91; cover

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  • Performing Arts
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  • 1921
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