Socialist realism in the Bulgarian National Theatre's Stage design: processes, influences, concepts

Source document: Theatralia. 2018, vol. 21, iss. 2, pp. 141-160
  • ISSN
    1803-845X (print)
    2336-4548 (online)
License: Not specified license
Set design in Bulgarian theatre history is a field full of questions. There is only one published piece of research which had the aim to cover the processes in to the scenography from the first professional theatre company (at the end of 19th century) until the mid 70's of the 20th century. The biggest problem in this study is the fact that it was written during the Communist regime, so it's hard to be taken as a solid base for contemporary analysis of the theatre situation. Nevertheless, as the only book about the history of set design in Bulgaria, even if it is full of ideological propaganda, it is still used by researchers as a reference. This article is a part of a bigger research project which has the aim of clarifying the process of development of Bulgarian scenography as well as the personal art styles of the different generations of set designers from a contemporary point of view. The crucial points integrated into the research are the political changes which start with the Communist coup in 1944 and completely transformed not only the socio-political life, but also the artistic one. The National Theatre was a scene of the unfolding of the most important and essential developments of theatre processes. Amongst these, the establishment of Socialist Realism was a milestone that marked the changing of aesthetics. Achieving it onstage both thematically and in each of the elements of a production became the task of and a challenge to the National Theatre. In this paper I will focus on several examples from theatre history to show how the standards of Socialist Realism have transformed set design aesthetics.
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