Sirak Skitnik as a director at the National Theatre Cover Image
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Сирак Скитник като режисьор в Народния театър
Sirak Skitnik as a director at the National Theatre

Author(s): Kamelia Nikolovа
Subject(s): Cultural history
Published by: Институт за изследване на изкуствата, Българска академия на науките

Summary/Abstract: Bulgarian painter, poet and art critic Sirak Skitnik has in his rich biography also a professional experience as theatre director. During the season 1923/24, he was a dramaturge and artistic secretary of the National Theatre, where he was invited as a respected and erudite collaborator of “Zlatorog” by the chief editor of the magazine Vladimir Vassilev, who has taken at the same time as manager of the national scene. While Sirak Skitnik held this position he staged “Monna Vanna” by Maurice Maeterlinck. The invitation to Sirak Skitnik was part of the overall moderate program of the new director for renovation and modernization of the National Theatre. Recognized as a journalist and artist, who knows European avant-garde movements and at the same time he presents them to the Bulgarian audience in a relieved and balanced version, he intended to create the performance in the aesthetics of expressive theatre (known in Bulgaria until then only by radical stage experiments of the expressionist artist Geo Milev). The premiere of “Monna Vanna” (November 15, 1923) made a strong impression, especially with its visual solution – new and unexpected for Bulgarian scene until then. Sirak Skitnik is a director and also a stage designer of the show. It reveals the conflict in the drama through a specially constructed rhythm of the space, achieved by clashes of contrasting colors and power lines of the objects as well as by the actors’ groupings on stage. In the mise en scene artist uses some strategies of the emblematic theatrical expressionism as the sculptural formed central character – emblem of a certain idea, who is opposed to the collective image of the mass. But expressive strategies are not continued in the acting. Sirak Skitnik tries to combine his expressive concept for the performance with the traditional National Theatre’s acting style. This effort turns rather unsuccessful, and the show remains the only experience as stage director of the artist. However the moderate, but bright and original expressive theatre, invented by him was successfully extended and accepted by Hrisant Tsankov - one of the leading directors in Bulgarian theatre between the two world wars of the twentieth century.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 10-15
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: Bulgarian