The Ideology's the Thing

It has been called the finest theatrical troupe in the world. Some 30 million people have seen its 23,000 performances of 121 plays. It has toured Europe and the U.S. in triumph, and its techniques have influenced the theater everywhere. Last week, in its home town (where few anniversaries over the 31st are celebrated), the Moscow Art Theater marked its soth birthday with full official hoopla.

The Art Theater was conceived in an 18-hour café conversation between two fervent young men: Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, who became its administrator, and Konstantin Stanislavsky, its guiding spirit. Stanislavsky (whose dressing room is kept as...

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