The Theatre of Attractions

  • Lars Kleberg
Part of the New Directions in Theatre book series (NDT)


Toward the end of 1922 Meyerhold’ s student Sergey Eisenstein had assumed the artistic direction of the First Workers’ Theatre of the Moscow Proletkult. Shortly before presenting his first independent production, the young director published the manifesto ‘The Montage of Attractions’, in which he said that:

The spectator himself constitutes the basic material of the theatre; the objective of every utilitarian theatre … is to guide the spectator in the desired direction (frame of mind).1


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  1. 1.
    Sergei Eisenstein, ‘The Montage of Attractions’, in his Selected Works, vol. 1, trans. and ed. Richard Taylor (London and Indiana, 1988), p. 34.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The most comprehensive account of the facts remains Alexander Fevral’skii,’ s. M. Eizenshtein v teatre’, in Voprosy teatra 1967 (Moscow, 1968), pp. 82–101; see also Daniel Gerould, ‘Eisenstein’s Wise Man’, Drama Review, 61 (March 1974), pp. 77–88Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    S. Tret’iakov, ‘Teatr attraktsionov’, Oktiabr’ mysli, 1 (1924), pp. 53–6Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    S. M. Eizenshtein, Izbrannye prizvedeniia, vol. 1 (Moscow, 1964), p. 104.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    Eizenshtein, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, vol. 5 (Moscow, 1968), p. 52.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    My play The Sorcerer’s Apprentices is a fictitious reconstruction of a discussion of Mei Lan-fang’s performances among these and other directors; see Lars Kleberg, Stjärnfall. En triptyk (Stockholm and Lund, 1988), pp. 37–75; French edn, La chute des etoiles, trans. Katarzyna Skansberg (Paris, 1990), pp. 45–86; English edn forthcoming. The minutes from a 1935 public discussion with Mei Lan-fang in Moscow in which Meyerhold and Eisenstein did take part has recently been discovered in a Russian archive (published with an introduction by Lars Kleberg, ‘Zhivye impul’sy iskusstva’, Iskusstvo kino, 1 (1992), pp. 132–9).Google Scholar
  7. 17.
    Eizenshtein, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, vol. 3 (Moscow, 1964), p. 46.Google Scholar
  8. Caniel Gerould, ‘Historical Simulation and Popular Entertainment: The Potemkin Mutiny from Reconstructed Newsreel to Black Sea Stuntmen’, Drama Review, 122 (Summer 1989), pp. 161–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 18.
    Lars Kleberg, ‘Ejzenštejn’s Potemkin and Tret’jakov’s Ryci, Kitaj!, Scando-Slavica, 23 (1977), pp. 29–37.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lars Kleberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Kleberg

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