Devoted to the stage

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 16:30 in Psychology & Sociology

Anatoly Smeliansky’s resonant voice, wrapped in a rich Russian accent, lends him a certain gravitas, but his eyes shine. He conveys at once sweetness and seriousness, and the sense that he fights for what he loves: the art of acting. When asked why acting is so important, he responds with a knowing chuckle that makes his point. “It’s among those questions like, ‘Why is laughing important?’ There is no answer. We love it.” One of Russia’s most distinguished theater scholars, Smeliansky is the founding director of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.)/Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. As part of the program, he is spending the month at Harvard leading a series of classes on the history of theater and drama. During a recent session, with the American Repertory Theater’s lobby serving as an impromptu classroom, Smeliansky connected the political situation in Russia and recent anti-government demonstrations to the...

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