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Sergei Vladmirovich Obraztsov

Sergei Vladmirovich Obraztsov (1901 – 1992)

Sergei Vladmirovich Obraztsov, famous Soviet puppeteer and puppet theatre director, showed an affinity to puppetry at an early age. At nineteen he began his work with puppets in earnest, following the Russian puppetry tradition half a century old.. In 1931 he founded the State Central Puppet Theater in Moscow, an educational center of professional and amateur theatre groups. The center houses the museum of theatrical puppets, a library on the theme, manuscript and pedagogical departments, and one of the world’s largest collections of theatrical puppets (over 3,500 from 50 countries). In 1937 his troupe was given their own performance hall and gained autonomy creating an environment for Obraztov to explore puppetry geared towards adult sensibilities and themes. As a remarkable painter, one of the leading actors in the musical studio of the Moscow Arts Theatre, a variety star and the founder of a whole artistic school of “parody in puppets”, a splendid writer (he is author of about 20 books), a screenwriter and a prominent public figure, Obraztsov led his theatre until the last days of his life. He put on 61 plays, including performances such as “An extraordinary show”, “The magic lamp of Alladin”, “At the rustle of your eyelashes”, “The devil’s mill”, “Don Juan” and many others. The Sergei Obraztsov Central Puppet Show has entertained tens-of-thousands of fans in 50 different countries, with a witty program that parodies slipshod variety performances.

His book, My Profession, describes his artistic development from childhood through all his puppetry productions.

“My mistake – my fault – was that I did not have a real goal. Of course, I did have a goal of sorts: I wanted to be a success. But success must not be a goal: it can only be the result of achieving a given goal. The goal in creating a work of art can only be its idea, or more correctly, conveying it fully to those for whom the work is intended. It is necessary therefore to feel this idea as the work’s primary goal and to be carried away by the theme that resolves this task.

Unfortunately, although the blows were painful, I did not immediately come to the conclusion that the most important thing in performing or staging a play was to know what you want to say. Without having a clear idea about this, one should not begin work on a performance.” -Sergei Obraztsov