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Jürgen Rühle

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Great book on the art of theater and revolution.

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theatre
and revolution

dtv
About this book

Jürgen Rühle reports on the situation of the theater under


communist sign. He not only depicts the brother
mechanism of party-bound cultural policy, but
In addition, it gives a colorful picture of the fascinating
Avant-gardism of the revolutionary theater in the twenties
Years. He lets the work and fate of artistic personal
opportunities arise that do not continue from cultural history.
to be considered, including Gorky, Stanislawski, Obraszow, Pisca-
tor and Brecht. Rühle analyzes the pieces, describes the in-
stagings and is based on the reaction of the audience and
Party one. The heyday of the Soviet revolutionary theater
came to an abrupt end due to the narrow-minded cultural policy of
lins, who did not shy away from it, also with arrests
and liquidations in the development of the theater
to grab. Only after Stalin's death was there a revitalization of the theater
ters possible. The final chapter, which the
current situation of the Soviet theater illuminated.
September 1963
Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG,
Munich
Revised edition of the volume by the author
"The bound theater"
Licensed edition by the Kiepenheuer & Witsch publishing house
GmbH, Cologne
Set designer: Celestino Piatti
Complete production of C. H. Beck'sche Buchdruckerei,
:

Nordlingen
Printed in Germany
Jürgen Rühle:
Theater and revolution
From Gorki to Brecht

German
Paperback
publishing company
content

Gorky and the Birth of Socialist Realism ... 7

Stanislavski and his system 38

The theater October 64
Meyerhold Majakowski Eisenstein
• • •
Tairow
Vakhtangov The Jewish Theater
-

The Puppeteer Obraszow 108

The Theater of the German Revolution 127


Reinhardt and Jeßner Piscator The agitprop troops
• •

Brecht and the Dialectic of the Epic Theater 159


The Soviet Theater Today 196

Post Comment 201
:

This book is dedicated to the personalities of revolutionary theater


who perished under the dictatorships

Isaak Babel Ernst Barlach


Alexander Block Heinrich George
Kurt Gerron Reinhard Goering
Maxim Gorki Bruno Jasienski
Walter Hasenclever Vladimir Kirschon
Mikola Kulisch Les Kurbas
Federico Garcia Lorca Vladimir Mayakovsky
Wsewolod Meyerhold Salomon Michoels
Ivan Mikitenko Erich Mühsam
Carola Neher Hans Otto
Sinaida Reich Moritz Seeler
Ernst Toller Sergei Tretyakov
Gorky and the Birth of Socialist Realism

Away with the non-party writers! Away with the literary superman!
The matter of literature must become part of the general matter of the proletariat.
tariats become a "cog and screw" of the one unified,

great social democratic mechanism, conscious of the whole


The vanguard of the entire working class is set in motion. The literary
Activity must be part of the organized, planned, unified
th social democratic party work.
Lenin 1905

In 1902, ten years after his first story was published,


became the thirty-three year old writer Alexe Maximo witsch
j

Peschkow, called Gorki (The Bitter), an honorary member of the


Imperial Russian Academy of Sciences elected. That was
a very unusual and unheard-of act, for the chosen one
was considered a notorious revolutionary, had been arrested several times,
placed under police supervision and from his hometown Nizhni Now-
gorod (today's Gorky) was banished. Than one to the tsar
submitted the appointment of Gorky, he provided the letter with the
Side note: "More than original!" And gave the minister
for popular education the order to annul the election. To the
Signs of protest against this attitude of the government laid out-
then the most important poets in Russia at the time, alongside Tolstoy
and Ukraine, Chekhov and Korolenko, for their part their academic
mix down dignity. The number of copies of Gorky's writings
meanwhile reached the hitherto unique height of half a million
lion; Collections of his works have appeared abroad in various
those languages.
At that time it was the first time in the illegal organ of the
Russian social democracy, the "Iskra" (spark), the name Gorkis
named as a "writer of European fame", the
became the victim of an arbitrary act by the authoritarian government
The author of this article was Lenin. And the tsarist police caught
the letter from a leading Bolshevik from which it emerged
that Gorky had agreed to work on Iskra
and "to help her with everything possible". - The trajectories of life
two world historical personalities began to converge
strive towards. . .

In the same year, 1902, Maxim Gorky completed his play


> Night Asylum <(in the original:> From the Deep <), the drama of the damned
ten of this earth. It was published immediately upon completion of the writing
premiered by the Moscow Art Theater; Stanislavski himself
took over the direction and the lead role. Financier of the performance
and one of the contributors was the industrialist Morosow
whose workers the young Gorky had learned a few years earlier,
how to organize a strike »The premiere had a tumultua»
ric success. Stanislawski tells in his memoirs like that
overwhelmingly surprised author by the enthusiastic applause of the
Audience called eighteen times in front of the curtain, full of confusion
tion appeared there, the cigarette still clamped between his teeth
and completely incapable of bowing or doing any other reasonable
to make a statement. "Brothers," he stuttered,
. .

smiling, and nervously ran his fingers through the wild
the strands of hair, “you know that's extremely uncomfortable
. . . . . .

Truly, my word of honor! What do you have to look at me like that?


. .

I'm not an opera star, not a diva, not a ballerina, that's nice. . .

a story. Oh, God knows, my word of honor. ”The play brought out


. .

Gorky's breakthrough to the theater, within a year it happened in


Triumphal procession over the leading stages in Europe. In Berlin was
it by Max Reinhardt
listed.
in the
"Night Asylum" gave Gorky the summary of everything he had so far
Life down, »the result of nearly twenty years of observation of the
World of those who once were human «. Gorky, 1868 as a parent
Born loose proletarian child, came from even the deepest reason
of the people; none knew the agonizing fate of the millions of
Exploited, stranded, ostracized and declassed as well as
he. The endless country roads, above those from industrialization
uprooted farmers and farm workers migrated as "barefooted" -
the streams and rivers with their steamers and barges, that
Flushing the flotsam of time - the slums of the big ones
Cities in which a trodden lumpen proletariat is shy of light and
These were his "universities" who lived hopelessly. As a running
:

Boy, house servant, hall keeper, dishwasher, as a kitchen boy


on the ship, draftsman in an icon workshop, collector of
Rags and bones and songbirds, as an apprentice baker,
Beer carrier, theater actor, choir singer, scribe, vagabond and
who knows what else he went along the Volga, along the Don
the Ukraine, through the Crimea and through the Caucasus, he got to know
know the country and its people, especially the poorest of the poor,
and learned to lift them.
For years he struggled to shape these of his experiences.
"Can you imagine how it is?" He said to Stanislavski,
who pressed for the completion of the play, “they always stand
around me, these people, push and push each other, but I can do them
can't place, can't find my way between them. True-
sticky! They talk and talk and what they say isn't even
bad, so it's a real shame to have to interrupt them.
God knows, my word of honor! ”In his play they all returned-
the one he had met: the seedy baron, the
the past wealth, the serfs, the horses, the
Chen mourns the prostitute who is looking for a little love
longs, the unemployed locksmith, healthy, hardworking, to work

8
be ready, for whom there is no way up, that
Actor whose poetic world only consists of drunkenness, who
Thief who slides lower and lower on the social ladder and than
Killer ends ... It was a dark, hidden world of suffering
and misery, under the parquet of a glamorous society
vegetating, which Gorky conjured up. The 'night asylum' was an un-
secret ghost from the underground, from the subconscious
be the company on the stage and cast a shadow,
which more than any social democratic proclamation the horror
foreshadowed impending upheavals. The tsarist government
was so concerned that they put performance restrictions on the
Piece imposed: It was only allowed in the province with consent
of governors are played, but the governors received
the secret order not to grant the permit if possible
To give.
In his drama Gorky raised the question of salvation from the
Misery on. And he set two ways opposite each other. There is one:

sometimes old Luka, the Tolstoyan type, a gentle preacher
of the kindness and compassion, which as consolation donors through the asylums of the
Desperate draws. He has a grief-reliever for everyone
Ready for illusion, he advises the girl to only believe in love -
;

"Whatever you believe in, there is ..." -, the drunken show-


player, he tells of a mysterious, miraculous healing
institution, and in the drawn criminal he awakens the hope
reference to an all-reparative new territory of Siberia. "The
Truth is not always good for people. . .

you heal the soul with the truth. «, justifies the old man. .

his consolation lies and tells the story of the man who
hopeful and happy the "land of the righteous" throughout his life
sought - until a scholar showed him that such a country was not
there he hanged himself.
:

In a strange polarity to Luka, in opposition and again


Touch, satin stands, the central figure of the piece. »A crowd
latan is the old man supposed to be? ”he asks his companions. »What does true
Ness? Man is the truth! He understood that ... but you did
I understand him very well, the old man ... He must have been
!

kert but it was out of pity for you, the devil knows it
. . . !

there are many such people who lie out of compassion for their neighbor ...
I know, I've read about it You lie so beautifully, so enthusiastically!

so wonderful there are so comforting, so reconciling lies


1 . . .

Such a lie manages to justify the chump that the
Hand of the worker crushed and on the starving. . .

I complain - know the lie! Who has a weak heart
. . . . . .

or who feeds on strange juices - needs the lie. . .

Give them courage, and give them a cloak


who floats them. . .

but his own master is whoever is independent and not from
. . .

The sweat of the other lives - what does he need the lie? The lie is
!!

the religion of servants and masters ... the truth - is the god-
the name of free man! "
In the famous monologue at the end of the piece, Satin posits
his philosophy with all clarity »Man can believe or:

do not believe that is his business Man - is free ... he has
. . . !

to pay for everything himself for his belief, his unbelief,

his love, his reason. Man bears the costs for himself
everything, and that is why he is - free. Man - is the truth! . . .

What does human mean anyway? It's not you and it's not me
and not they are no! But you, me, she, old Luka,
. . .

Napoleon, Mohammed are all together (draws in the


. . . !

Air the outline of a human figure) Got it! This is


- something very big That is something in which all beginnings are and
!

all ends everything in man, everything for man only that
. . . !

Man exists, everything else - is the work of his hands and his
Brains Der M-man Simply great It sounds so sublime
! ! !

M-men-nsch! One should respect people! Not pity


Suffer . one should not humiliate him through pity
. rather . . .

We respect drink for the good of man, Baron Wie
! !

it's nice to feel like a person! I am a marriage. . .

one-time convict, a manslayer, a cardsharp ... well! If


When I walk on the street, people look at me as if I was the one
worst rascal ... they avoid me ... they stare-
They come to me and often they say to me: Scoundrel! Cream puff!
. . .

Why are you not working? Work? What for? To get full. . .

the? (laughs out loud) I've always despised the people around
are too worried about getting full. It doesn't matter, Ba-
ron! Not on it! Man is the main thing! The human being
stands taller than a full stomach! 'And when the baron said softly that
Sometimes he is afraid of the future, Satin proudly adds:
"Nonsense! Who should a person fear? "
Individual sentences of the Satin Monologue became winged words
in the communists' treasure trove of quotations, but one does not find any Soviet
cal interpretation that the vagabond's speech without cuts
and cited mutilations. This is understandable, because the question
development, tendency of the answer, even give away terminology only too
clearly the source from which the young Gorky these wisdoms
sipped. It is a sermon of the Zoroastrian kind. Many years
later Gorky himself commented on the accusation that he
the vagabonds idealized and Nietzsche's train of thought for them
have slipped. With an irritation that probably arises from
Annoyance declares being reminded of a youthful sin, he dismissed
back the claim that he ever defeated the Lumpenproletariat
want to glorious, but admitted that he had motifs from Nietzschean
Philosophy. "I think," he wrote in a note
sentence, »I was absolutely entitled to the 'human being'
Anarchism of Nietzscheanism, the anarchism of the> defeated
10
ten former people,
who threw the life out of the ordinary life into the night sanctuaries
<

has, and some small groups of "defeated" intellectuals completely clear


Have symptoms of a psychological relationship. Here have
I of the writer's right to finish the material
ken <, made use of. . . Between the "people who were"

the night shelters and the politicizing emigrants in Warsaw,


Prague, Berlin, Paris, I see no other difference than the for-
times literal. The vagabond Promtow [from the story> The
Vagabund <] and the philosophizing cardsharps Satin are still
always alive, but they are dressed differently and work in the
Emigrant press, preach the "moral of the masters" and justify-
gen their existence in every way. That is their job, their office. The
The role of being the lackey of the gentlemen satisfies them. "
We see old Gorky with a peculiar nonchalance
of memory, which we will notice in him more often,
tries to convey the statement to a figure he once created
twist it to reflect his later negative view of the phi-
to align the philosophy of Nietzsche. In reality, Satin is revolting
yes, precisely with Nietzsche's arguments against a »morality of
Servants and masters ”, against an ideology that
looks to cloak stands with beautiful words. It also exists
a letter from Gorky from the time the piece was written in which the
Poet himself writes that he has put his own thoughts into the satin
have closed my mouth, “because there is no one around except Satin to
and because no one else is better and more convincing.
would sound gender «.
Of course, it cannot be said that Gorky was at any time
was an orthodox follower of Nietzsche. But the influence
the philosopher, whose traces are also found in many epic works
of the early Gorky has a not to be underestimated
Role in the personality development of the young Peschkow, in his-
development from romantic anarchism to Bolshevik
mus played and, as strange as it may sound, is even in ideology
of socialist realism. Gorky has the most tender
Age went through infinitely difficult things, he was almost devoured
of a flood of filth, humiliation and meanness, that
Morass in the lowlands of Russian life. With not yet
twenty years ago he attempted suicide; he shot
his chest, which gave him a sick lung for life
brought in. "It's strange," said Leo Tolstoy later
to him "that you are still good, although you have the right
to be bad. Yes, you could be a bad person. you
are strong, and that is good. "That Gorky is not in the mud,
. .

who washed over his youth, went down that he was not in cynicism and


Nihilism degenerated, he thanked his iron willpower and the
romantic ideals, which he preserved, liked life

11
no matter how disgusting it is around him. He got it, himself
under the most inhospitable circumstances, with excruciating hunger in the
poetic world of the books he had found somewhere
immerse yourself and pursue your dreams. Its poetic
Amazingly, he began his career with enthusiastic, memorable
lancholic poetry. His first teacher, the Ukrainian farmer
ter Vladimir Korolenko, accused him: "If that is a young girl
Chen, who read too many verses by Musset
has., I would say to her:> Not bad! But do you marry
. .

But that such a grim Lulatsch like you makes tender verses,
!

is almost a meanness, at least a crime. you are


. .

Realist, not romantic. Realist!"


Gorky has never given up this romantic note. But
its romanticism lost its ethereal character with the time of maturity.
character and adapted to the real conditions of the struggle for life.
Through his political activities he came up with the legendary movement
of the Narodnaja Volja ("People's Will") in contact with the
the poet Korolenko also sympathized. The Narodniki how to get
they called were an illegal revolutionary organization run by boys
Intellectuals who, through terrorist attacks, »arouse the masses of the people.
ken «(their assassinations were among others. Tsar Alexander II.
fer). It was certainly the ideology of the Narodniki in which the »hel-
the ", the" liberators "played such a role, from which Gorky the
Bridge to Nietzsche found. As an example of this development
period in which revolutionary and Nietzschean elements
melted, let us mention the famous 'Song of the Falcon', his
The conclusion is: "In the madness of the brave - lies the wisdom
is life's falcon, you bold man in battle you are
! !

bleeds But the day will come when suddenly your hot heart
. . .

blood drops burn fiery: sparks in the haze of life,


deeply ignite madness and longing in many brave hearts
seeks, longing for light and freedom! - You are dead now! ...
But in the song of the brave and strong you live on as an example and
as a proud wake-up call to the light, to freedom
!

ren sing a song we ... "


We can already see from this quote that Gorky's Narodnikitum
less the idea of ​​the peasant revolution than that of the heroic act of
individual was in the foreground. He knew the Mushiks and "bar-
füßler "too good to find out about the Russian people such an
would have created alien illusions like the writers and students
denten in the big cities. He tried Korolenko on gestalt
ten to make it clear from his own works that the farmer is only one
"Hero for an hour" who will probably once perform a noble deed.
gen, but then beats his wife half to death and the
Smashing neighbors' skulls, which might be a popular uprising
able to instigate, but afterwards everything drowns and is
Sen can be eaten up. Gorky, who came from the masses, believed

12
.

not of a revolutionary vigor of the masses, but of the deeds


bold and strong-willed people like himself.
In the 'night asylum', which is completely permeated by the thought of the elite,
There is a significant point Satin once mentioned that it gave him a
:

Old Luka's wisdom was particularly impressive. On the question,
what the people actually lived for, the old man answered:
"The human? Oh, they live for the sake of the fittest! Live there
for example the carpenters, let us assume - all wretched people
. and suddenly a carpenter is born from among them
. . . .

such a carpenter as the world has never seen; all is
he over, no other carpenter can match him. The whole table
He is giving a new face to the trade, his own, so to speak .... . .

and in one fell swoop the joinery advances twenty years
. And that's how everyone else lives
. . the locksmith and the shoe. . .

Makers and the rest of the workmen, the peasants and so on. . . . . .

even gentlemen - only for the sake of the most capable everyone thinks he is!

for himself in the world, and now it turns out that he is for
that is for the fittest! A hundred years
. . . or much-. . .

they can easily live longer for the fittest - all, mine
. . . !

Dear, all live for the sake of the fittest! Therefore should


we also respect every human being, we don't know. . .

who he is, what he was born to do, and what he can still accomplish


maybe he was born to us fortunately ... to great extent
. . .

Use . . . "
Gorki theses Nietzsche into the social and
had its own way that
Rethinking revolutionaries. This tendency also shaped his pro
position from Marxism than it did from the peasant revolutionaries
began to resolve and to turn to the labor movement. Compares
one with the> night asylum the petty bourgeois <,
this is how one can determine an interesting further development of the elite idea
put. "Die Kleinbürger" was the first piece to be finished and
performed shortly before the other, but in all their con
reception and world of thought a later stage of development Gor-
looks like the 'night asylum', which the poet met very early on.
and with whom he got pregnant for a long time.
In the petty bourgeoisie, the two groups of
Towards people: the weak, frightened, bad road
those who have come to despair and give up, and the strong,
The able, the brave, the fighters and the winners, who come to life
say and be sure of their future. But now it's not
ethical confrontation more, but a social petty bourgeois and:

Proletarians are opposed to one another. Instead of a satin


Now the engine driver Nile is the philosopher of strength. Be

Profession has changed, but otherwise he still has all the traits of Gorki
the heroic ideal of a gentleman in his own way, flawless and proud
:

feels like the conqueror of life, the creator of all values ​​and everything
The weak and morbid are despised, a fearless and merciless one

*3
Smashers of the old tablets. “You see,” says Nil, “I love it
for example passionate about forging iron. There is one in front of you
red, shapeless mass, full of angry, scorching embers ... you with that
Working with hammer - is a real pleasure. She spits you too
her hissing, fiery saliva, wants to burn your eyes out-
nen, want to blind you, chase you away by force. She is so full of life
ben, so plump. And you shape with powerful, far reaching
. .

Beat everything you need out of her. "This is an allegory,
. .

which is not difficult to interpret. Nowhere is the transition from
Nietzschesche Übermenschen as the positive hero of the socialist
realism as clear as here. In a Soviet com
mentar it says »There is no doubt that after the entire
:

according to his personality and his convictions


Will be on the side of the Bolsheviks at any time and in any situation. "
The activist tendency that Gorky brought to the stage is un-
distinguished him from all previous Russian literature,
critical realism, which only depicts, analyzes and
wanted to wrap, but not moralize and revolutionize. On-
The differences between Gorky and his teachers are conclusive
and friends Tolstoy and Chekhov, to whom he, moreover, what
Knowledge of the world and people, literary craft, style and
as far as the same is concerned, owes a lot. When the first acts of the> small
bürger <, Chekhov wrote the author a review in which
he made a profound judgment about the figure of the Nile ». the : . .

Role of the Nile, a wonderful role. It must be about two to three
times as long, the piece has to finish, to the main role
become. But don't make an opponent to Pyotr and Tatiana
from it «- the melancholy figures. “He should stand for himself
and the other two too. So there are lots of wonderful, great-
good people, but independent of each other. When Nile itself
appears to be standing over Pyotr and Tatiana, and von
says himself he's a hell of a guy, that's how a trait goes wrong
that distinguishes each of our workers, namely the certification
denheit. He brags, he trumps; you can see what anyway
for a person he is. He may be funny, he may
To have fun
and be it eating a lot four acts after work - that
long, he likes
it is enough to win the audience over to him. ”Gorky agrees.
said that he had indeed failed the play, that it was "gross and..."
clumsy ", Nil screwed up by" reasoning ", etc. - changed
but nothing. They were obviously talking past each other. Chekhov,
who once said of a work by Gorky that it reminded him of it
Sermon by a young priest, a beardless one, who has a deep voice
the O emphasizes. Finally, denoted the finished "petty bourgeois"
. .,

as a student work and claimed to be the last act ever


not having understood.
On the other hand, Gorky did not have a much more positive opinion about it
some of Chekhov's works. He commented on the famous

14
!

'Kirschgarten': 'I've now seen Chekhov's play - at the


Reading does not give one the feeling that it is a great work
acts. There is nothing new in it. Moods, ideas, as far as you can
can speak of ideas, everything is already contained in earlier pieces.
Still - very nice; and of course the audience will
instilled a wistful longing from the stage. After what
but - I don't know. ”And about Chekhov's dramas-
. .

design he wrote elsewhere, »You have failed to


:

to die in time, and now whine without seeing or even watching


understand what's going on around them, parasites that run out of strength
have to suck yourself back to life. . «.

Most of all, of course, Gorky opposed the human


ideal of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. “The magnificent mirror of the
Russian literature for some reason does not reflect the
breaks in popular anger, those clear signs of its striving
for freedom, against. She crafted an endless array of clever, but
stammering and dumb people ... She has no heroes
seeks but preferred to write about people who
were strongly in tolerance of gentle, soft people who dated
Dreaming paradise in heaven and bearing the suffering in silence ",
he remarked, and another time: “Life is struggle, always
Struggle! But one must fight not against oneself, but for oneself
. Why should I defeat my passions when they have weapons
. .

are when they need to be ground and sharpened, because only
you can win with them. "
Once he said to Tolstoy in a conversation that he was an active person
may suffer well who are willing to defend themselves against evil in
even with the use of force to oppose.
"Violence is the greatest evil!" Exclaimed Tolstoy. "How do you want
get out of this contradiction? ”And as Gorky on the enemy
Environment in which humans have to assert themselves,
said the old man from Yasnaya Polyana
:

Drawing Dangerous Conclusions You are a very questionable socialist


!

You are a romantic. . "


.

Dealing with the indecisive or reactive


Gorky has one of the intellectual attitudes of the intellectuals in the class struggle
dedicated to a large part of his work; most of the dramas he's in
his middle creative period (the decade before the first
World War), are about: "Summer guests", "Children of the
Sun <,> Barbarians <,> The Last <,> Ecclesiastics ^> The Sykows <.
None of these pieces could hold their own on the stage,
they have hardly reached the West because they are all too specific
settled in the milieu of the pre-revolutionary Russian intelligentsia
and entirely from philosophical dialogues and reflections
are rampant. A drastic characterization of the intellectual
The way Gorky denounced her there is in the> summer
mergästen .

Alluding to amateur theater: “You put on strange clothes and


talk . all sorts of stuff that gets in their mouths
. . You . . .

scream, run back and forth doing something


. . . get angry about. . .

something short and sweet, they trick each other. The


. . .

one says i'm a smart one


: or I'm unlucky
. . . : . .

in short, what comes to mind - that's what he introduces. "


While Gorky did everything to his teachers Chekhov and Tolstoy
Criticized still reverently, he discharged on Dosto-
jewski all his anger. As the Moscow Art Theater one
The dramatization of the "demons," he wrote a
hateful pamphlet in which he gave the poet a reactionary
när, founder of biological nationalism, a rabid one
Chauvinists and anti-Semites, preachers of humility and enemy of
Progress called - "our evil genius". The last in the
Series of his pre-revolutionary dramas on intelligence,> The
Alte, aimed directly at the "Karamazov soul," against which
Dostoyevsky's world of ideas. An actress of the small theater
in Moscow reports on Gorky's personal sympathy with the
Preparation of a performance »Alexe Maximowitsch read the end
: j

Play out his play "The Old One". That was in the cold during the day
Auditorium. Gorky had his coat over his shoulder
hangs and read slowly and in a low voice. He changed them
Voice barely noticeable, but we saw his heroes before us when
they lived. After reading and during rehearsals, everyone asked from
Alexej Maximowitsch eagerly discuss the role he is playing
should. He replied willingly, deliberately, and thoroughly. On the
'Old man' he said: 'I've tried to show how repulsive

it can be when a person sinks into his own suffering and
gradually believes that she can torture others for it. If such a
Man really believes that he has won this right and that
if he is a chosen tool of vengeance, he loses every-
the right to human respect. <«This statement by Gorky,
which belongs to a much later phase of development (the piece
was written in 1915, the performance mentioned took place in 1919), lets

admittedly a new tone, which he was very unfamiliar with.
klingen The criticism of the decadence is mixed up with the criticism of the
:

Self-righteousness of the so far so valued superhumanity.


In order for Gorky to deviate from his heroic ideal, he had to go through one
bitter political lesson - encounter and break with Lenin.

Gorky's political activity reached a climax in the


revolutionary uprising of 1905. Days after the Pe- Am
tersburger Blutsonntag, on which the police have a petition procession
had shot down, the poet published a proclamation
mation against the tsarist government. He was arrested and in
brought the infamous Peter and Paul Fortress. On the basis of a pro
test wave from all over Europe (including Curie, Rodin, Monet,

16
Jaures involved) it was put back on against bail
free foot. He worked on the first legal Marxist newspaper
Russia's "Novaya Shisn" (New Life) with, for which Lenin too
wrote. During the December uprising in Moscow, he accepted
were part of the illegal revolutionary work in his home
;

Bombs made for the workers' groups, and he collected them


large sums of money to buy weapons. To avoid another arrest
To escape tung, he went abroad in 1906; the party sent him
on an agitation trip through Europe and America to raise money for the
gathering russian revolution. But that mission wasn't
very successful, he returned disappointed and settled in Capri
down to cure his lung disease. He completed two
Works in which he has shaped his revolutionary experiences
:

The novel "The Mother" and the drama "The Enemies" as the first
classical works of socialist realism.
From the play "Enemies" we can best
give pressure when we speak to two critical voices
to let. The report from the Russian censors said: “In this one
Piece becomes the irreconcilable enmity between workers
and employers treated very clearly. The former will be
portrayed as steadfast fighters who consciously focus on the
towards one goal - the destruction of capital - the others will
shown as narrow-minded egoists. By the way, according to the words
one of the characters completely indifferent to how
are the characteristics of the entrepreneur. It is enough that
he is an entrepreneur to be viewed as an enemy by workers
to become. Through the wife of the factory director's brother, deed-
jana, the author predicts the victory of the workers. The whole
The play is pure propaganda against the possessing classes, which is why
it cannot be allowed to perform. "
While a wave of reaction swept over Russia,
"Die Feinde" were performed in Berlin as early as 1906. The critic
Kerr, God knows no Bolshevik, wrote about it: "Go in,
see this piece. You will wait two acts; you will
Shake your head you will speak for two acts> Well, yourself
; :

admitted that it is so. . <; you will ask: 'Is it coming?


.

now? <; you may feel impatience - but against


If your feelings are related to mine, you will end up
to be shaken; you're going to want to jump on the stage and that
Shake hands with people. Because in a single simple group
do you see what is happening a thousand times and every day in this country today
happens - and what will happen until the poor heroes who
Nameless, their poor, slow, heavy, dull gigantic work
have bled, bled, incarcerated and slain: the advancement;
the gagging of the criminals who kept them in the coal room
breathing in a little more human air and the right to
; ;

to send a guard onto the navigating bridge with the

*7
::

Ship that is her life. No, no the piece is not moving
. . :

gend. But the revolution that it represents is moving. Not


art affects me, but what affects Gorky more strongly
must as art. "
In May 1907 Lenin and Gorky met in London
at the Fifth Congress of the Social Democratic Workers' Party, Russ-
lands - the one as the leader of the left, Bolshevik faction
of the party, the other as a guest, as a »delegate with advisory
Voice". In his memories, Gorky later gave one in some
Regarding revealing characteristics of their encounter at that time
“Even now I can clearly see the bare walls of hers