Vera Fedorovna Komissarzhevskaya
Вера Федоровна Комиссаржевская

Actress of the Russian Stage

November 8, 1864 - February 23, 1910

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being. ~ Oscar Wilde

Entertainment is said to be both a reflection of the times in which we live and a force of major influence upon the world it mirrors. It is also acknowledged that for better or worse, the far reaching effects of modern film may be the most powerful export of Western culture. Within that context the Art of Theatre and its foundation as the cornerstone from which the modern leviathan of motion picture entertainment and influence was born stands in starkest neglect; its importance and that of the men and women who created the modern theatre at the beginning of the Twentieth Century having been all but forgotten. Their work is that of giants upon whose shoulders the  artistic and intellectual pygmies of modern cinema and stage reside.

Russian theatre is readily acknowledged as a primary force of inspiration and change during the early part of the last century. The names of Constantin Sergeyevich Stanislavski (Константин Сергеевич Станиславский) and Vsevolod Emilevich Meyerhold (Всеволод Эмильевич Мейерхольд) are synonymous with the twin innovations of "The Method" school of acting and "Symbolism" upon the stage. And while these two men are recognized for their far reaching contributions whose importance continues to be felt in film and stage today, another whose lifework and very personification of being exemplified these concepts and had who worked simultaneously with both, is all but unknown outside of her native Russia.

Vera Fedorovna Komissarzhevskaya (Вера Федоровна Комиссаржевская) was both a contemporary and a mentor to Stanislavski and Meyerhold respectively as well as many other artists of note during her brief, but meteoric career upon the Russian stage. During the years of her ascendance, 1896 until her death in 1910, she came to symbolize in nearly every aspect of her life the ideal of Artist and Actor. To date, as these words are written, no English language website exists detailing the life of Komissarzhevskaya, with little more than the barest outline of her career available even on the Russia Web. Only one English language biography of her has been attempted, and that a shared volume with the story of the lives of her father and brother, men of note in the field of Opera and Theatre Direction. Vera's section occupies little more than a hundred and fifty pages though she is noted in nearly every book on the Russian arts and those dealing with her artistic contemporaries. As the author of this website I humbly acknowledge that my own resources are limited due primarily to my inability to research my subject in her native language. As such I hopes that those of you who are more familiar with Komissarzhevskaya and her times will bear with me and hope that you will share with me any additional information and corrections you may have.

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The Plays - A Page featuring modern Adaptations of the Plays Vera Performed Upon the Russian Stage

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