A new edition of Bulgakov’s blistering satire about the great Russian director Stanislavski, inventor of “Method acting,” part of Melville House’s reissue of the Bulgakov backlist in Michael Glenny’s celebrated translations.
In 1926, a play based on Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The White Guard premiered at the prestigious Moscow Arts Theatre and it was an immediate and long-lasting success that laid the ground for the rest of Bulgakov’s career as a playwright and novelist.
But it was not an entirely positive experience, and this novel, written near the end of Bulgakov’s life, skewers the theatrical fraternity he had been a part of for many years, and the Stalinist system of censorship that suppressed his work.
Black Snow is the story of Maxudov, a young playwright whose play is chosen, almost at random, to be performed by the legendary Independent Theatre, and the chaos that ensues. The two co-directors of the theater, modeled after Stanislavski and his co-director, battle to control the production, star actresses throw daily fits, and with each rehearsal the chances of the play ever being ready to perform recedes. The ultimate backstage novel and a brilliant satire from one of the greatest modern Russian writers.
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