Theatrical and pedagogical foundations laid down by V. M. Chystiakova in the development of the imaginative world of the Ukrainian actor

S.I. Hordieiev
2019 Aspects of Historical Musicology  
Topicality of the research theme. An extremely fruitful period in the activities of one of the leading higher drama schools in Ukraine – Kharkiv Institute for Theatre Arts, now 'I. P. Kotliarevskyi' National University of Arts, Kharkiv – connected to the name of Valentyna Chystiakova, a People's Artist of Ukraine. Chystiakova acted as a teacher in the early 20s of the XX century, and later was among those, who consistently embodied the creative ideas of her great teacher Les Kurbas – both in
more » ... Kurbas – both in the stage practice of the theatre and in teaching. The basis of Chystiakova's pedagogical school was, first of all, laid in the actress's own creative experience. Today V. M. Chystiakova's creative and pedagogical programme is perceived as a pattern. She was among those who have guarded the traditions by Les Kurbas, who gave their talent to the troop of 'Shevchenko' Theatre, who contributed to its artistic growth, who insisted on the education of the actor of high plastic culture, having excellent skills in the basics of rhythm, rhythmic plastics, the actor with a broad outlook and deep erudition. Synthesizing in her work the experience and dramatic traditions of the Berezilites, Valetyna Chystiakova became one of the brightest leaders in the thought and aesthetic programme and performing principles of the theatre; she meaningfully defined a qualitatively new stage in the development of dramatics. The main research results. In 1950, without ceasing performances at 'T. G. Shevchenko' Theatre, Valentyna Chystiakova begun to work part-time at Kharkiv State Institute of Theatre Arts, generously giving back to her students the knowledge acquired for many in long year in the field of actor's art. An unappreciated school of such art for young actors of Kharkiv theatres and students of the Institute for Theatre Arts was her unforgettable roles of that period, Greta Norman in play "Life begins again" based on the play by V. Sobko and Fru Alving in "Ghosts" by Henrik Ibsen. In 1959, after 40 years on stage, V. M. Chystiakova ceased performing in the theatre and completely devoted herself to pedagogical work. Diaries, manuscripts of lectures and notes give a lot for understanding the pedagogical experience of the actress. Her converse with students has become a school of actor's art. She was anxious for the development of the creative manner of the actor, about his/her thought, aesthetic and ethical culture, acted as an art director and consultant for the students' graduation performances on the Drama Faculty. As a theoretician of acting, V. M. Chystiakova is almost unknown to theatre theorists. She paid great attention to teaching the technology of acting, the method of histrionism, and the issues of education of the actor. Referring to Les Kurbas, she believed that in the theatre system the actor's gesture technique is one of the main disciplines, but the bias in one-sided biomechanics gives non-talented actors who unable to carry the performance on their shoulders. Hence, her main goal was to educate an actor to be attractive as a personality. It is quite natural that V. M. Chystiakova paid the main attention to mise-en-scenes, i. e. the location and movement of all material, live and article ones, of the performance. She perceived the miseenscene as an element that evokes the corresponding associations in the theatregoer. The actress examined the mise-en-scenes in detail and considered that they are able to replace words and enrich the image. The problems of stage speech in the sphere of V. M. Chystiakova's interests as a teacher occupied a permanent and important place. Relying on the Kurbas law of "fixation", she took care that the actor could accurately repeat the speech picture of the role, possess expressiveness of intonation, know where to use pause, where to raise the tone and confidently operate with them. At the same time, the principles of psychological theatre identified one of the main directions of her work with students. In V. M. Chystiakova's personal archive it was preserved a compendium of book by Grigorii Kristie "Education of the actor belonged to Stanislavski's school", which she used as a material for lectures on the mastery of the actor. The actress developed her own system of "arriving of the actor at the dramatic character" that he crafts. In her lecture "The Mastery of the Actor", she emphasized the need to develop musicality and rhythmicity, without which the actor is not able to aesthetically control his movements on stage. Rejecting dilettantism, Valentyna Chystiakova proved that the untrue, approximate tempo-rhythms of physical actions, do not prepare the actor for the appearance of a true stage experience, the main factor in the theatrical art.V. M. Chystiakova offered students a series of exercises to improve the expressiveness of hand movements (for hands and fingers), and emphasized that this is a very important and painstaking process. She explained to students that at certain points in the performance, the sculptural expressiveness of the actor's pose is also needed, who should continue to play in statics, emphasizing the characteristic features of the stage image. The actor is both a demiurge and a material. His natural body, voice and emotions must obey the will of the creator, and to become a perfectly tractable instrument. In the lectures of the 1970s, V. M. Chystiakova expressed a lot of practical thoughts in relation to the specifics of the profession of actor who should immerse himself in a variety of dramatic material, to perfectly master the natural apparatus: the body, the controlling centre – the brain, the psychic setup. All acting is built on suggestion. Therefore, Valentyna Chystiakova compared the actor with a hypnotist. The stage image should cause the effect of hypnosis: to convince, inspire, treat morally. As a teacher, she demanded from the actor a synthetic skill: perfect mastery of gesture, facial expressions, rhythm, physical conditioning, and endurance. In her understanding, the actor is a dreamer, an improviser who instantly picks up stage-directorial offers, and knows how to fix the form. Stage metaphor is the alpha and omega of Chystiakova's school. She explained to students that the metaphor should be clear and understandable, because its form is not designed for gourmets. The metaphor cannot be overly encrypted. If it does not reach the consciousness of each viewer, its function is useless. V. Chystiakova considered persuasiveness of the metaphor as its main quality. Conclusions. Summing up the foregoing, we can draw the following conclusions. Chystiakova's school is built on a creative community of the teacher and student. Passing on her experience to young actors, she closely connected the drama training technology with the modern practice of the theatre, she did not rest on her oars, and she constantly was in search for the new. An outstanding achievement of the actress was the introduction of stage metaphor in the Ukrainian theatrics. A new generation of actors recognized her as a master of metaphorical speech. The creative and pedagogical heritage of Valentyna Chystiakova has already entered the treasury of the Ukrainian theatre of the XX century, has become a spiritual support of the theatre of the future. For young generations of actors Valentyna Chystiakova is an ideal of a harmonious personality who knew the happiness of inspired work and life in art. The long and fruitful path of Valentyna Chystiakova, who created about a hundred scenic images, and her personal method of training the actor give every reason to argue that various facets of the artistic heritage of Les Kurbas brightly appeared in the work of his disciple, that traditions and aesthetic principles of the stage-director burst into sparks in her artistic achievements and in her outstanding works, which significantly expanded the style framework of the actor's art and is an integral part of Ukrainian stage culture.
doi:10.34064/khnum2-17.08 fatcat:sftnbmhfzzg2ngvyyilkntpppm