Circus of Tsarevich Aleksei Mikhailovich Cover Image

Цирк царевича Алексея Михайловича
Circus of Tsarevich Aleksei Mikhailovich

Author(s): Stepan Mikhailovich Shamin, Stepan Mikhaylovich Shamin
Subject(s): History
Published by: Издательство Исторического факультета СПбГУ
Keywords: history of russian theater; the court culture of the 17th century; Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich; Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich; entertainer (poteshnik) Ivan Ermis

Summary/Abstract: The article focuses on the «German potekhi» (entertaiments), played in the Muscovite court during the 1630s. These entertainments resembled circus performances. They were based on rope acrobatics. The principal changes leading to a new phenomenon in the Russian court culture appeared in the turn of 1634 and 1635. From this time a small acrobatic troupe began to develop, the backbone was formed with two German artist and five of their Russian pupils. The development of the «German entertaiments» was connected with the youth of Tsarevich Aleksei Mikhailovich. First he looked at poteshniki (entertainers), then apprenticed three of his nakry players to the foreign artists, dressed them together with himself, his younger brother and the stolniks in the German comic costume. This period ended because of the tragic events in the life of the royal family in 1639: in January died Tsarevich Ivan, five years old, and in March died newborn Tsarevich Vasilii. To this the Empress’s health deteriorated. At the end of mourning the «German entertaiments» were not renewed. The author concludes in pointing out the similarity of «German entertaiments» from 1630s with the performances that were played at the court of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich in early 1672: no German actors on stage were professionals; the people close to Aleksei Mikhailovich played a significant role in the organization of the performances; the shows were based on the plastic actions that were understood without the help of an interpreter; the Tsar and his sons was shown for the audience. These performances have become an important preparatory step to the production of the first theatrical performance ― The Play of Artaxerxes (Ahasuerus; Artakserksovo deistvo).

  • Issue Year: 20/2016
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 136-151
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Russian