Translated from French as “living picture” (zhivaia kartina in Russian), performances of tableaux vivants commenced in Europe in the middle of the eighteenth century, emerged in the Russian Empire at the end of it, and reached the apex of their popularity during the nineteenth century. Dr. Severina's talk will briefly cover their history but will focus on revolutionary tableaux of Early Soviet Russia. How was this form of symbolic expression used for entertainment, instruction, and promotion of political ideology? Why was it regarded as appropriate and effective for articulating state power? She will discuss parallels between imperial and Soviet tableaux, examine their interdisciplinary nature, and analyze this phenomenon’s role in Russia’s politics and culture.
Yelena Severina teaches courses on Russian literature and theater at the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2018. Her research focuses on Russian theater, modernism, performance, silent film, and Russian-Ukrainian literary relations. She is a Spring 2021 Virtual Open Research Laboratory Associate.