Theater can go beyond what literature can achieve in reflecting a culture’s narrative. Theater is a live art form, a shared experience between actors and audience. This immediacy can create a powerful sense of community and togetherness. Theater also brings stories to life through movement, costumes, set design, and music. These elements can be deeply symbolic, reflecting cultural traditions, dress, rituals, and even architecture while heightening the emotive impact of the story told.

Theater is also more limited in that it is a temporal art form. While literature can reach millions over the course of centuries because, as Bulgakov once wrote, “words don’t burn,” a live theatrical performance disappears the moment it ends, left to live on only in memory.

Despite this, witnessing a play together can encourage a deeper connection with the stories and themes presented. Theater’s powerful ability to both preserve and alter the narrative of a culture has also led the state to carefully monitor its activities, supporting art that it deems positive and censuring that that it deems threatening.

All of the countries of Eurasia have rich traditions in the performing arts.

‘Irrational’ Rebellions Against Socialist Realism: Czech and Russian Variations on the Legend of Faust

During the 20th century, communist parties assumed state power in Russia and a number of Central and East European countries. The communist leadership of these nations imposed socialist realism as official doctrine governing artistic production. The ruling parties’ ideology emphasized human rationality as the means for creating a well-ordered socialist society, which would be free of […]

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