Constructivist Theatre

Experimental productions which, through design and action, celebrate the machine as a symbol of progress using geometrical, abstract, and mechanical evoking shapes. The seminal work of this art movement was Vladimir Tatlin's New Babylon Tower, a work which refuses to be contained within conventional framing boundaries. Meyerhold applied the principles of theatrical constructivism to his production The Magnanimous Cuckold (Fernand Crommelynck) in 1922 with designer Liubov Popova. The set comprised of three large wheels—black, red, and white—which rotated at varying rhythms and were set between two machines with various planks and beams extending out at multi-levels. Visually, the result of a constructivist production is chaotic and energetic with an overload of action. As in the art, constructivist stage designs are not bound by the conventional stage frames, such as the proscenium. Constructivism does not just apply to set and costume design. The body is also made to look and move mechanically (see biomechanics). For example, a simple choreographed action, such as hair plaiting, might be represented through a crisscrossing and layering of bodies. More recently, 2005, a successful attempt was made to recreate the Prokofiev/Massine constructivist ballet Le Pas d'Acier, originally commissioned by Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes in 1927, using the original ideas and designs of Soviet constructivist artist Georges Yakoulov.

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