Opening Night!

It’s opening night of He Who Gets Slapped at Live Arts, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Please come join us – check the link to the right under “Where To Find HE” for more information.

Enjoy the show!


Images: The Circus Goes to the Carnival

These are more images that did not make it into the lobby display.

Director Sara Holdren took a few of the actors to the Dogwood Festival carnival in late April, and this is what ensued This is but a handful; the entire album can be found here:

All photos by Scott Keith.














































Images: Inspiration

Here are some of the images that did not make it into the lobby display.

This batch is taken from director Sara Holdren’s photostream on Picasa, and it was a collection of images used for reference and imagining what HE could become. This is but a mere handful; you can find the entire album here:

































































Images: Context For the Social and Political Climate

Here are a few images intended to contextualize the words explaining what was going on in Andreyev’s world as he wrote.


Bolsheviks storming the Winter Palace to oust tsar Nicholas II, October 1917.

Storming the Winter Palace, 1917










Newspaper announcements in Russian and English of the Bolshevik proclamation issued after the successful coup, October 1917.

Russian Bolshevik Proclamation, 1917











English Bolshevik Proclamation, 1917








1919 propaganda poster, “Beat the Whites With the Red Wedge”, by El Lissitzky: a well-known example of revolutionary Constructivist art being produced in the wake of the October Revolution.

El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites With the Red Wedge, 1919

Images: Russian Circuses, Late 1800s and Early 1900s

Here is a collection of images from Russian circuses in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Female stunt-rider Olga Sur, late 1800s.

Olga Sur, Late 1800s












Male stunt-riders, late 1800s.

Male stunt-riders, Late 1800s









Female stunt-rider V.S. Bondarenko, early 1900s.

V.S. Bondarenko, Early 1900s












Male stunt-rider N. Ferroni, early 1900s.

N. Ferroni, Early 1900s












Traditional musical clowns, late 1800s.

Traditional Musical Clowns, Late 1800s












Traditional clowns (not marked in the captionas “musical” despite the presence and playing of musical instruments), early 1900s.

Traditional Clowns, 1900s












Two clowns evocative of Tilly and Polly, year unknown. The caption reads: “This was the only case in which a red-haired young man chose the clowning profession. Savelii Krein was the name of this pupil of the technical college of circus art. While he worked, he changed partners several times, also changing his costumes, props, and comic method. But his passion for classic clown buffoonery remained immutable. In this picture, Krein is on the right with his partner Gorin, who was also a pupil of the technical college of circus art.”

Two Russian Clowns, Year Unknown










Pavel Brykin, clown, early 1900s.

Pavel Brykin, Early 1900s











Lavrenty Lavrov, clown, early 1900s.

Lavrenty Lavrov, Early 1900s












Testing new clowning waters, year unknown. The caption reads: “Both new and experienced clowns turned to such classic pantomimes as “Boxing”, discovering every time new possibilities for the exposure of peculiarities of the artistic gift. As performed by Konstantin Musin, this little scene became one of the best in the gifted artist’s repertoire. In the photo is Musin (right) and his partner, Baidin.”

He Who Gets Boxed?, Year Unknown







A brief tutorial in the art of Russian clowning, year unknown. The caption reads: “Social themes were not the only themes subject to the clown’s denunciatory laughter. Following the tradition of the great folk jester Vitalii Lazarenko, the clown-satirist Andrei Ivanov continually included in his clowning repertoire the denunciation of our political adversaries.”

Clown Face Tutorial, Year Unknown












No Russian circus would be complete without an act on ice; year unknown. The caption reads: “A new thing. Of course, shows on ice couldn’t have worked out without bright actors. In order to create the appearance of unlucky hunters in the program ‘Winter Fantasy’, the artists had to master the profession of figure skating.”

Russian Circus on Ice, Year Unknown

Images: French Circus Posters, Early 1900s

Here is a collection of images from French circus posters (and some of their programs) from the early 1900s.

Poster and program for the Cirque d’Hiver, which began as Napoleon’s circus on December 11, 1852, and in September 1870 was renamed the Cirque National. In 1873 it was christened Cirque d’Hiver, which remains its name to this day (in Paris, where it began and is still seen). This advertises the show on October 2, 1903.

Poster, Cirque d'Hiver, 1903

Program, Cirque d'Hiver, 1903












Poster from a 1904 program of the Cirque Rancy from Lyon. This advertises the last show that circus ever put on in that city because the mayor decided to start taxing horses. The circus’s director, Alphonse Rancy, didn’t like this idea, so he packed up his circus and left town to put on a traveling show.

Poster, Cirque Rancy, 1904












Poster and program from the Cirque Ville Rouen, a provincial circus that did not lack in quality and was not inferior to the circuses of Paris (according to the caption).

Poster, Cirque Ville de Rouen, 1906

Program, Cirque Ville de Rouen, 1906












Poster and program from the Cirque Metropole, 1907, of Paris. In this program, the highlight is the third act, which is a farce on the theme of marriage performed by the celebrity clown Geo Foottit and his sons Tommy and Georgy.

Poster-program, Cirque Metropole, 1907












Poster from the Cirque Medrano, featuring the clown Boum-Boum, from 1909.

Cirque Medrano, 1909












Finally, an assortment of two color posters advertising French circuses in the early 1900s.

French Circus Posters, Color, 1900s

More French Circus Posters, Color, 1900s


This is by no means an exhaustive list of the resources available on the play, but here are the works I consulted in researching the work. (Warning: some require knowledge of French or Russian!)

Adrian. Cirque au Cinéma, Cinéma au Cirque. Paris: P. Adrian, 1984. (French)

Andreyev, Leonid. Photographs by a Russian Writer. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1989.

Andreyev, Leonid. Tot, kto poluchaet poshchetiny. Letchworth: Prideaux Press, 1978. (Russian)

Clark, Hilary, ed. Depression and Narrative: Telling the Dark. Albany: SUNY Press, 2008.

Dmitriev, Iurii. Tsirk v Rossii.1977. (Russian)

Kogan, M.S., ed. Isskustvo Klounady. 1969. (Russian)

MacAndrew, Andrew. 20th Century Russian Drama. New York: Bantam, 1963.

Mestechkin, Mark. V Teatre i v tsirke. 1976. (Russian)

Reeve, F.D., ed. Twentieth Century Russian Plays: An Anthology. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1973.

Scott, Charles W. Le Cirque et Le Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo. Rennes: Éditions Ouest-France, 1995. (French)

Segel, Harold. Twentieth-Century Russian Drama: From Gorky to the Present. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979.

Simonet, Alain. Programmes des Cirques en France: De 1860 à 1910. Paris: Arts Des Deux Mondes, 2000. (French)

Walz, Robin. Pulp Surrealism: Insolent Popular Culture in Early Twentieth-Century Paris. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

White, Frederick. Memoirs and Madness: Leonid Andreev Through the Prism of the Literary Portrait. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006.

Woodward, James. Leonid Andreyev: A Study. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969.