Recollections of Three from the
TRANSLATED BY SUSAN COOK SUMMER
Although Mstislav Dobuzhinsky is primarily known as a stage de-
singer, painter and illustrator, he also wrote an autobiography and a
number of essays, several of which appeared in the emigre press. Most
of these cornprised his recollections of the painters, composers, actors,
and choreographers of Russia's Silver Age. The excerpts which follow
consist of Dobuzhinsky's comments on three of these celebrated fig¬
ures: the Symbolist poet Alexander Blok, the actor Vastly Kacbalov
of the Moscow Art Theater, and Mikhail Fokine, perhaps the greatest
choreographer of the twentieth century.
AS was the case with many other Russian poets, it was at
/-j\ Vyacheslav Ivanov's Wednesday salons that I met
A )\ Alexander Blok during the winter of 1906-1907. It
was Blok's period of the "Beautiful Lady" and the "Strange
Woman," and I found the poetry he was writing then was even
more rewarding and affected me even more deeply than that of
Sologub. It even made me feel somehow grateful. Blok was the
most "St. Petersburg" of the contemporary poets, and this alone
brought us closer and endeared him to me. His "Balaganchik"
("The Puppet Show") had just been produced at the Komissar-
zhevska Theater with decor by Sapunov. It was truly poetic, and
its strange, poignant fascination remains unforgettable to this day.
Blok's personality was completely in keeping with his poetry.