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 Pyotr Fomenko


Born:   13 July 1932
Deceased:   09 August 2012

Stage and film director, teacher, and art director of the Moscow theatre P. Fomenko Studio.

      

 

Pyotr Naumovich Fomenko was born on 13 July 1932 in Moscow.

The mother of Pyotr Fomenko inculcated love for the theatre and music in him as a schoolboy. As he recognized later, it was via music that he came to the theatre. He graduated from Gnesins Music Institute and Ippolitov-Ivanov School majoring in violin.

Then he entered MKhAT school studio, where soon became the focus of all that is “totally contraindicative to the great school of Russian theatre” according to conservative academic teachers. In spite of anything Boris Iliich Vershilov, formerly a colleague of Yevgeny Vakhtangov went on working with the gifted “outcast”. Nevertheless, in 1953 Pyotr Fomenko was expelled “for hooliganism” when in his third year of studies.

Later he entered the Philology Faculty of the Moscow Lenin Teachers’ Training University that he graduated by distance learning in 1955.

As a student he directed informal parody shows and made attempts of first serious stage productions, in particular, rehearsed the play The Stone Guest by Alexander Pushkin. At the same time he studied at the Directors’ Faculty of GITIS (now Russian State Theatre Academy), which he graduated in 1961. He staged his first play production in 1958.

In the 1960s two stage productions by Pyotr Fomenko were banned by censors: The Death of Tarelkin (after 50 shows in Mayakovsky Theatre, 1966) and New Mistery Buff (Lensovet Theatre, 1969). For aesthetic disloyalty of the stage director theatre critics titled him “a defiler of remains of Russian classics”. At that time Pyotr Fomenko lived without regular work, kept going with odd jobs on TV, in provincial theatres, theatrical circles, and even private lessons as a philologist.

Having found no employment in Moscow, he moved to Tbilisi, where he worked in Tbilisi Griboyedov Theatre for two seasons. In 1972-81 he worked as a stage director (and as theatre director from 1977) in the Leningrad Comedy Theatre, which he had to leave after an ideological conflict with the city committee of the Communist Party.

At the same time he staged several plays in Moscow. Along with his theatre activity Pyotr Fomenko fruitfully worked in the Central TV, creating his inimitable teletheatre.

Finally Pyotr Fomenko returned to Moscow to work as a stage director in Mayakovsky Theater (from 1982) and in Vakhtangov Theatre (from 1989).

In 1981 he was invited by his teacher Andrei Aleksandrovich Goncharov to lecture in GITIS, initially as a teacher in the workshop of Oskar Yakovlevich Remez. In 1992 Pyotr Naumovich got the title of Professor of the Russian Theatre Art Academy (GITIS).

In 1993 the course of Fomenko’s students (intake of 1988) acquired the status of a theatre (P. Fomenko Studio) with Pyotr Naumovich Fomenko as its art director.

Play productions staged by Pyotr Fomenko repeatedly became winners of various theatre prizes. Pyotr Naumovich was honoured the title of the People’s Artist of Russia in 1993, and many other titles in different years.

Altogether Pyotr Fomenko staged over 60 plays in theatres of Moscow, Leningrad, Tbilisi, Wroclaw (Poland), Salzburg (Austria), and Paris (France). Besides, his works were seen by theatre-goers in Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, Columbia, China, and Greece.

Pyotr Fomenko died in Moscow on August 9, 2012, in his 81st year.


Tags: Russian theatres Russian culture Russian directors Pyotr Fomenko  








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