chapter  5
4 Pages

Vakhtangov before the MAT

The “prehistoric time”—this is how one of Vakhtangov’s students, poet Antakolsky (Vakhtangova et al. 1939: XVI), referred to his teacher’s pre-MAT period. Nevertheless, it is important to picture Vakhtangov as a director and actor before he entered the MAT circle. It is evident that prior to 1908 Vakhtangov did not pay serious attention to the naturalistic details of setting, character behavior and physicality. His performances as an amateur actor are described as being psychologically mobile and sincere. Moreover, since his early steps as an actor, Vakhtangov appears to have been a master of expressive external form, capable of justifying it intuitively. This form did not come as a result of careful work on body and voice. The expressivity of Vakhtangov’s acting originated from his unrestricted inner life, as it freely manifested in his external behavior.