A Meeting about Laughter: Sketches, Interludes, and Theatrical Parodies
Nikolai Erdman is best known as the author of the plays The Warrant and The Suicide, both written for Vsevolod Meyerhold in the 1920s. A tragic victim of Stalin's campaign to control the arts, Erdman never wrote another full-length play. What has remained veiled in obscurity until now is that Erdman, often nominally in tandem with the playwright Vladimir Mass, was also the prolific author of satirical sketches and theatrical parodies. The extraordinary wit, biting satire and lyrical humour of these short works provide both a fascinating glimpse into the creative method of one of Russia's greatest 20th-century playwrights, and an unparalleled panorama of the often mad world in which he lived. In addition to such legendary works as A Meeting About Laughter, the interludes to Hamlet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Pugachyov, this volume contains the transcript of a startling discussion of The Suicide at the Vakhtangov Theatre in 1930, and the only surviving fragments of what was to have been Erdman's third play, The Hypnotist. It is the first collection of Erdman's short plays ever to appear in any language.
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