New book from Michael Craig “Blok, Meyerhold and The Fairground Booth”

Announcement of my new book “Blok Meyerhold and The Fairground Booth which was published a few weeks ago. The book is now available on Amazon. Blok wrote the play The Fairground Booth in 1906 in the wake of the 1905 revolution which was seen as a precursor to the 1917 October revolution. As Blok himself said it seemed he “dragged it up out of the police department of his soul”. The play itself was received with a mixture of derision and delight when it was first performed by Blok and Meyerhold in 1906.
Blok and Meyerhold’s production of the The Fairground Booth was one of those seminal plays which changed the whole direction and context of theatre in Russia. Meyerhold’s subsequent innovations had an impact not simply on the course of Russian theatre but also to a large extent influenced the direction in which other directors developed their ideas and work. The Fairground Booth was a prototype for the explosion of theatrical innovations spearheaded by Meyerhold but it also inspired such directors as Tairov and Vakhtangov.
This book is not intended as an interpretation of the play as such but is written with the aim of creating a context in which this enigmatic and often overlooked play can be understood and enjoyed.

Over the next few months I will be adding material to this blog as a suppliment to the book. Many of the themes in the book such as the theatre within a theatre and Blok’s other plays and their significance for theatre will be addressed as part of a continuing flow of information  connected with this book. If you wish to purchase the book more details can be found here or by clicking on the thumbnail on the righthand  side of the blog.

Mixing Genres

One of the good things about making a documentary film or an arts documentary film now is that you have the freedom provided by all the previous films that have been made which provide one with a myriad of styles and examples which you can draw on – not so much to copy but to use as inspiration or guidance and for dispensing with any boundaries. This does not mean a free form film but encourages a fluidity between genres , a mixing of styles which can work. So that the difference between The Fairground Booth and a feature film or a documentary or an avant-garde film will be blurred.
Bearing this in mind, The Fairground Booth is proceeding in production and editing almost simultaneously and with editing and writing working in tandem. One or two posts have been completed and put up on the special site that is dedicated to The Fairground Booth project and is almost turning into a self sufficient blog. The latest blog post can be accessed here and refers to the role of neoplatonism in Blok’s work and in The Fairground Booth in particular. A whole section will be included in the book which will accompany the film and will be included as part of the Russian Theatre Film Series.  



 I have had some difficulties with a section of the book which deals with a comparison of The Fairground Booth with one of Shakespeare’s plays and which I will write about a little later. It comes as a result of reading Hoffman’s “Princess Brambilla” and some of Alexander Tairov’s comments about his production of the play in the early 1920s. Hoffman had a big influence on Russian theatre and the Russian Avant-garde as a whole.