“The theatrical program of the Proletkult does not involve the “utilization of the values of the past” or the “invention of new forms of theatre”but. Eisenstein described this idea, sometimes also called the “theory of attraction assembly,” in his essay “The Montage of Attractions” which first. Sergei Eisenstein is a father of the montage of attractions. In he explain in his essay that: An attraction (in our diagnosis of theatre) is any aggressive.
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Eisenstein’s Montage of Attractions | Samuel O’Connor Perks –
Eisenstein’s Montage of Attractions. The work itself was proposed to the Prolekult in favour of a new direction of the theatre. The influential idea that Meyerhold transferred on to the young Eisentstein and his thinking was that of organic unity.
Organic unity understood in its basic sense is that when a work shows evidence of a direct relationship between the part and the totality of the work in terms of the thematic concepts that arise from that work in particular.
So, for Meyerhold disenstein work would achieve this when each of the individual actors were like organs subservient to the body of the work.
Soviet montage theory
In his work On TheatreMeyerhold outlined three fundamental principles for the theatre of the future which would later heavily influence Eisenstein.
The three principles are as follows: The role of attrctions theatre director should be akin to a musical composer. The recognition of the stage and the auditorium as a single organic whole and the audience as an active participant in the theatrical performance.
The vital importance of movement in the theatre based upon his theories of biomechanics. Esienstein would later say that the second principle was the key to unlocking the essence of the theatre. For Eisenstein, all art is ideologically informed and shaped by virtue of being a part of the time that it comes into being.
Rick On Theater: Eisenstein’s Theory of Attractions
So it is utilitarian in the sense that the agit-attraction of the image or the scene guides the viewer to the desired state of mind- that being in line with the aim of building a better society. He writes that this work was the first work to use the technique of agit based upon his concept of a Montage of Attractions. The concept of Montage of Attractions has several features…. The success of a production depends upon its ability to affect the audience, and for Eisenstein, this will be both intellectual and physiological.
I think that this passage merits being quoted in full as it attracrions towards the essence of what Eisenstein is getting at in this piece of writing: An Attraction in relation to the theatre is any aggressive aspect of the theatre; that is, any element of the theatre that subjects the spectator to a sensual or psychological impact, attrqctions regulated and mathematically calculated to produce in him certain emotional shocks which, when placed in their proper sequence within the totality of the production, become the only means that enable the spectator to perceive the ideological side of what is being demonstrated — the ultimate ideological conclusion.
It is here that we can notice an aspect of the theatre which would later be taken up and expanded on by the French theatre theorist Antonin Artaud- namely, what would become the Theatre of Cruelty Eisenstein actually cites the Grand Guignol theatre which is discussed at length in The Theatre attractuons its Double.
Yet, being fragmentary in nature it nonetheless embodies the thematic whole. To think the fragment is to think outside of the system of historical narrativization, and film has the capacity to do this.
Yet, the fragment is not a mere arbitrary part of the whole. In dismantling the metaphysical barrier between spectacle and audience, Eisenstein aims at changing the role art has in society- that being, for Art to have a direct influence on man and society. This radically new approach mnotage for Eisenstein, a way of freeing the theatre from the logical rigidity of mimetic theatre which merely portrays events without a critical slant. The space that is freed up under this understanding of the theatre, is an interweaving of representational segments- each part expressing the thematic whole.
He finally declares that the film, the music hall and the circus shall be the new mediums to realise this idea of a Montage of Attractions, and as an example, he cites his own production of The Wiseman.
It employs the theoretical elements that Eisenstein outlines in the essay. Some people at the time thought this to be a politically dangerous move. It juxtaposes images in order to hav a subversive effect. For example, attraction 13 reads: Business with a placard: The mullah picks up the plank on which he was sitting: On the back is the inscription: Eisenstein sought to communicate the idea of communism through a language of sensations.
But the problem goes much deeper [… ] The discomfort Eisenstein creates today has less to do with communism than with the aesthetic project he identified with the propagation of the communist idea.
Unlike Brecht, Eisenstein never wanted to instruct or teach his audience how to see and create a distance. Brecht set out to purge the theatrical representation of identification, fascination, absorption. Eisenstein, instead, wanted to capture all of them and multiply their power. Rather than saying that he put the young art of cinema at the service of communism, it would be more accurate to say that he put communism through the test of cinema, through the test of the idea of art and modernity that Eisenstein saw incarnated in the cinema: Oxford, New York, pp.
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