Copyright © 1999 by Hugo S. Cunningham

Added 991103
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Russkij tekst (original Russian text).

«Pravda», Sunday 18 January 1953, p. 2.

"Pavlik Morozov"

About the Performance at the Moscow Theatre for Young Viewers

V. Gubarev's play "Pavlik Morozov" is running at the Moscow Theatre for Young Viewers. This is a performance for children about the beginning of kolkhoz life, about the decisive advance of socialism against capitalist elements of the countryside..

Young viewers see bestial kulak exploiters; they see Communists, leading the great movement of the masses to a new life, representatives of the masses, following the Party. The main heroes of this play for children are, of course, children. Young viewers see rural Pioneers and school-children of the time, and among them the marvelous kid Pavlik Morozov, insatiably inquisitive, strong-willed, joyful, at times mischievous, -- in a word, like millions of our children.

The play reenacts events, taking place in the Ural taiga village of Gerasimovka in the Ural region, at the beginning of Collectivization.

A pupil of the Gerasimovka Pioneer organization, Pavlik Morozov unmasked his own father -- a corrupt grabber, and protege of enemies of the people, about whom even that person closest to him -- his wife -- would say::

Unmasked by his son, Trofim Morozov (played by V. Yakovlev) is removed from the post of chairman of the village council and, as a dangerous enemy of the new order, is taken from the village. Pavlik and his friends even more warmly and devotedly pursue their Pioneer mission. They learn superbly and, as far as they are able, help the plenipotentiary from the Party district committee and leading people of the village to build a kolkhoz, fearlessly uncover evil plans of enemies, and in every way abet the success of grain collections...

In the seventh scene of the play, the following dialog about Pavlik takes place among Gerasimovka kulaks and kulak-supporters:

They killed him. It happened in the taiga, on a meadow. Pavlik and his little brother Fedya were gathering apples. In order for there to be no witnesses, they also murdered little Fedya..

This is a drama. But why are trembling movements of the viewers, quiet cries, little tears in children's eyes interrupted by sunny smiles? In the drama, there is a victorious, conquering beginning. Ever more warmly and closely the people rally around the Communist Dymov (actor R. Gavrilov), who brought to this remote taiga location the truth about today's and tomorrow's life, about the one road to happiness, to joy, to light. And with every deed, with every picture, one senses ever more clearly the doom of the raging kulak gang.

Several times, Dymov meets with the Pioneer, Pavlik. Dymov is careful, unfailingly sensitive to the lad, and warms to him. In the dramatic scene, where Pavlik unmasks his father, Dymov also takes part. Here the tension reaches an extreme. The audience does not immediately respond to this scene. Eyes heat up, and faces heat up. And then -- hand-clapping, hand-clapping, an ever-growing storm of hand-clapping, and exultant gazes concentrate now on Pavlik, now on Dymov: they are equally close to the children's aroused spirit. Without Dymov and without others like Dymov, there would be no Pavlik.

One could more fully and clearly show the leadership of the Party by the profound revolutionary transformation in the countryside.

In the play there are, however, annoying, avoidable deficiencies: in several places the viewer is bored by the didacticism of the heroes, their argumentation about social duty, the Pioneer scarf, comradeship, etc. And the kulak grandfather Serega is rather stereotyped, and Danil, the murderer of the children, little resembles the typical kulak-supporter -- he is more like a foppish barber, or a steward in a small town in Tsarist times. The portrait of the young rural schoolteacher Zoya Aleksandrovna is somewhat dull. And yet she was the leader and inspirer of the Gerasimovka Pioneers.

But more important was the success of the dramatist and the theatre -- the portrayal of country boys. That was the very truth, genuine living Soviet children with their passion for knowledge, with striving for the inexpressibly joyful and fascinating new frontier, with unlimited and self-sacrificing readiness to aid the Party and Komsomol to strengthen this new frontier and protect it from any sort of attacks.

Truthfully, vividly, and with original talent, these traits of the Soviet Pioneer were revealed by the player of the lead role -- artist V. Gorelov. The actress I. Knyazeva made a fascinating portrait of the little Fedya, tenderly loving his older brother, following him in everything. I also wish to note the portrayals of country girls -- Motya (artist S. Shepalova) and Klava (artist S. Radchenko).

The artist V. Talalai's decorations are good -- a gilded autumn taiga forest, the shore of a lake, distant fishermen's campfires. This performance was set up by P. Tsetnerovich and E. Yevdokimov..


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