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SOONER SPEAKING THAN SILENT, SOONER SILENT THAN MUTE: SOVIET DEAF THEATRE AND PANTOMIME AFTER STALIN

Abstract

A television documentary on speech therapy is visible on the screen. A logopedist (speech-defect expert) coaches a young man to overcome his stutter through hypnosis. “You will speak loudly and clearly, freely and easily, unafraid of your voice and your speech,” she instructs. The boy hesitates but finally musters the words: “I can speak.” Thus Andrei Tarkovsky begins Zerkalo [Mirror], his poetic film about personal memory and cultural trauma (conceived in 1964 and completed in 1974).3 The symbolism of this scene was impossible for Tarkovsky's Soviet intelligentsia audience to miss. The stutterer coming to speech allegorized the artist coming to free expression in Russia after Stalin, struggling to adapt to alternating intervals of liberating “thaw” and oppressive “freeze,” fluency and silence, in the period of de-Stalinization that Nikita Khrushchev's secret speech at the 20th Party Congress of 1956 set into motion. The crisis of the solo stutterer's speech in the film stood in for the larger emerging crisis of how to represent socialist reality, a world that once had been captured solely by socialist realism—that is, until Khrushchev deprived Stalinism of its status as real socialism and thus invalidated the basis of socialist realism.

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akayiatos@berkeley.edu
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Endnotes

1. Benjamin Walter, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” [1935] in Durham Meenakshi Gigi and Kellner Douglas M., eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks (Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), 4878, at 58.

2. Brooks Peter, The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama, and the Mode of Excess (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976 [reprint 1995]), at 56.

3. Tarkovsky Andrei, Zerkalo (Moscow: Mosfilm, 1974). For a history of the film, see Synessios Natasha, “Mirror”: The Film Companion (London: I. B. Tauris, 2001), 1040. This translation of Mirror dialogue is from Johnson Vida T. and Petrie Graham, The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky: A Visual Fugue (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 116.

4. Rumnev Aleksandr, O pantomime: Teatr, kino (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1964), 241. All translations from the Russian are my own unless otherwise indicated. I use familiar spellings for well-known names and Library of Congress transliteration of Cyrillic in all other cases.

5. Emel'ianov B., “Videli li vy pantomimu?Teatr 2 (February 1963): 7181, at 71. Marceau's visit made ripples in the literature of theatre as well. Rumnev devoted chapters to him in his pantomime books, O pantomime and Pantomima i ee vozmozhnosti (Moscow: Izd-vo “Znanie,” 1966). See also Markova Elena, Marsel’ Marso (Leningrad: Iskusstvo, 1975); and Marceau Marcel, “Mimodrama—dikhanie poezii,” Teatr 3 (1960): 190–1.

6. Rumnev, O pantomime, 240.

7. Author's interview with Il'ia Rutberg, 20 July 2009. On Aesopian speech, see Loseff Lev, On the Beneficence of Censorship: Aesopian Language in Modern Russian Literature (Munich: Otto Sagner, 1984).

8. Corrigan Robert W., “The Theatre in Search of a Fix,” Tulane Drama Review 5.4 (June 1961): 2135, at 29.

9. Brecht's Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder premiered in Moscow with Yurii Liubimov's production at the Taganka Theatre in April 1964, after Brecht's return to the Eastern bloc from America. Brecht's status as a socialist persona grata put Soviet dissidents and apolitical avant-garde artists in a quandary: they admired his aesthetic nonconformism, but they disavowed the state's approval of his ideology. I am grateful to Anna Muza for pointing this out. The play was published in Russian as Mamasha kurazh i ee deti: Khronika iz vremen tridtsatiletnei voiny, trans. S. Apt (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1957).

10. On silence in the postwar West, see Simborowski Nicoletta, Secrets and Puzzles: Silence and the Unsaid in Contemporary Italian Writing (Oxford: Legenda, 2003).

11. Part of this unease was a seemingly contradictory verbal explosion, especially in the case of camp literature after the publication of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in 1962 at Khrushchev's behest. Artists wanted to talk, but they were unsure of the terms of their speech. For this reason, many popular pieces published or performed in this period wrestled with the question of what form and purpose the everyday and poetic language of post-Stalinism could assume.

12. I use the problematic term “deaf-mute” in this article because this still-used compound word makes more explicit the connections that exist in Russian between defectology and cultural production (“mute” was the word used to describe silent film, a prime pantomimic genre) and those that bind disability and racism or anxiety about alterity (“mute” etymologically invokes the idea of foreignness). See also n. 14.

13. Herdina Philip, “The Manufacture of Silence (or How to Stop People Doing Things with Words),” in Semantics of Silences in Linguistics and Literature, ed. Grabher Gudrun M. and Jeßner Ulrike (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 1996), 29.

14. For the supposedly inevitable link between hearing loss and speech loss in the Soviet context, see Tumasheva N., “Sovety roditeliam: Vozvrashenie slukha,” Zhizn’ glukhikh 2 (1958): 18. (Hereafter Zhizn’ glukhikh [Deaf Life] will be abbreviated as ZG.) Brueggemann Brenda Jo supplies the audiological axiom in Lend Me Your Ear: Rhetorical Constructions of Deafness (Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press, 1999), 115. On the topic of “silence as deafness,” consult Krentz Christopher, Writing Deafness: The Hearing Line in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007), 6778.

15. Author's interview with Il'ia Rutberg, 20 July 2009.

16. Emel'ianov, 71.

17. Povago F., “EKTEMIM,” Molodaia gvardiia 10 (1962): 273–87.

18. Rutberg Il'ia, Pantomima: Dvizhenie i obraz (Moscow: Sovetskaia Rosiia, 1981), 21.

19. Rumnev, O pantomime, 12–16.

20. Clark Katerina, The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual, 3d ed. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002), 15.

21. See Povago; Emel'ianov.

22. Rumnev, O pantomime, 155–6, my emphasis.

23. Gil José, Metamorphoses of the Body, trans. Muecke Stephen (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 107.

24. Rutberg Il'ia, Pantomima: Opyty v mimodrame (Moscow: Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1977), 10.

25. The Anglo-American medical model is characterized by its search for a cure for disability. That said, while the Western clinic may have given lip service to the goal of a cure, the incurability of disability and defect guaranteed the perpetuity of the institution and the expert professions invested in treating it. Trent James W., Inventing the Feeble Mind: A History of Mental Retardation in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

26. Sandomirskaja Irina, “The How-To of Bare Life: A Story of O.,” Documenta Magazines 1–3 (2007); online at http://magazines.documenta.de/frontend/article.php?IdLanguage=1&NrArticle=660 (accessed 24 February 2009).

27. Defectology was institutionalized and practiced most famously in Soviet Russia by Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934), whose death coincided with the temporary death of the discipline. For an in-depth picture of the dramatic succumbing of defectology to the political pressures of high Stalinism at the end of the 1930s, see Knox Jane E. and Stevens Carol, “Vygotsky and Soviet Russian Defectology: An Introduction,” in The Fundamentals of Defectology (Abnormal Psychology and Learning Disabilities), vol. 2 of The Collected Works of L. S. Vygotsky, ed. Rieber R. W. and Carton A. S. (New York: Plenum Press, 1993), 610. During this period, Vygotsky and some of his colleagues came under attack, the research journal Voprosy defektologii [Questions of Defectology] ceased publication, and many defectology departments shut down. These are just a few telling examples of the effects of the party's campaign against defectology during the period 1930–6. For more on the earlier years of defectology, consult Burch's Susan excellent survey of deaf education and culture: “Transcending Revolutions: The Tsars, the Soviets, and Deaf Culture,” Journal of Social History 34.2 (2000): 393401. On defectology during and after the Stalin years, see Zaitseva Galina, Pursglove Michael, and Gregory Susan, “Vygotsky, Sign Language, and the Education of Deaf Pupils,” Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 4.1 (1999): 914.

28. Zaitseva et al., 12–13.

29. In the imperative form, this is the title of a monthly ZG column from the 1960s.

30. On the subject of “gentle gesticulation,” consult ongoing debates in ZG about whether Soviet deaf citizens should use strong gestural language or whether it is too “vulgar” and unaesthetic a mode of communication to take place in public. See also the following article and subsequent issues of ZG: Geil'man I., “Kul'tura mimiki—poniatie emkoe,” ZG 3 (1967): 20–1. In e-mail correspondence with me (16–17 March 2009), Michael Pursglove noted that during the Soviet period, “signed Russian (kal'kiruiushchii iazyk—[Galina] Zaitseva's term) is based on the grammar of the written/spoken language and is mainly used by hard-of-hearing people, by pozdnooglokhshie [the late-deafened] and the (of course hearing) interpreters on TV and elsewhere. Profoundly deaf people have great problems in understanding it. RSL [Russian Sign Language], with its quite different grammar from written/spoken Russian, was always used by profoundly deaf people outside classes and (as it were illegally) in class. … The term [RSL] did not arise until about 1990, devised by [Zaitseva]. … Many Russian Deaf people don't realise the gift they have, a fully-fledged language in its own right, these days termed Rossiiskii [Russian national rather than ethnic Russian]) zhestovyi iazyk, and Russian TV inflicts ‘Signed Russian’ (kal'kiruiushchii iazyk) on them, which they don't understand.”

31. Burch Susan, Signs of Resistance: American Deaf Cultural History, 1900 to World War II (New York and London: New York University Press, 2002), 7, 168.

32. The degree to which deaf-mutes possessed a collective consciousness as a cultural and political group, what in the American context would be considered a “minority identity,” requires further investigation. Susan Burch has argued that the unique position of deaf Soviets under Stalin allowed them a style of ideological freedom that was not enjoyed by any other population, such that they were able to offer critiques of the state at the height of the purges. That freedom, of course, can only be considered partial when one takes into account the mass arrests and executions of Russian Sign Language users in 1937 based on Stalin's suspicion that the deaf were conducting an oppositional conspiracy in sign. Even so, the deaf towns and workers’ faculties would surely have contributed to a sense of cultural particularity among their members. See Burch, “Transcending Revolutions”; and Silianova Elena, “Russian Deaf Towns,” in The Deaf Way II Reader: Perspectives from the Second International Conference on Deaf Culture, ed. Goodstein Harvey (Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press, 2007), 189–92.

Still, as Pursglove has commented apropos of the approach of the postcommunist Moscow Bilingual School for the Deaf, many deaf Russians have a limited idea of what Russian deaf culture entails. Indeed, as a consequence of deaf theatrical participation during the Soviet period, “many, for example, believe that ‘deaf culture’ means clowns and mimes and not much more.” E-mail correspondence with Michael Pursglove, 17 March 2009.

33. Baldwin Stephen C., Pictures in the Air: The Story of the National Theatre of the Deaf (Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press, 1993), 65. The history of TMG and deaf theater is available on the TMG Web site at http://deaf-art.ru/history.html.

34. See ibid., 66. Similar impressions are recounted by Bernard Bragg, an NTF star whose popularity in Russia preceded his performances with TMG in the 1970s.

35. Berson Jessica, “Performing Deaf Identity: Toward a Continuum of Deaf Performance,” in Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance, ed. Sandahl Carrie and Auslander Philip (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2005), 51.

36. Zaitseva Galina, “O zhestovom iakyke teatra glukhikh (nabliudeniia i razmyshleniia),” in idem, Zhest i slovo: Nauchnye i metodicheskie stat'i (Moscow: n.p., 2006), 341–5, at 341, 343.

37. Brudnyi Dmitrii, “Mimika i zhest,” Teatr 11 (November 1971): 3743, at 38.

38. Leonid L., TMG director, quoted in V edinom stroiu 10 (1972): 20–1.

39. See the laudatory reviews of Twelfth Night: “Shekspir ’zazvuchal,’” ZG 8 (1963): 13; and Vartanian E., “Glukhie sredi slyshashchikh,” ZG 11 (1967): 28.

40. The 1965 Soviet film Dvoe [The Couple], a love story between a deaf-mute girl, Natasha, and her unimpaired musician-admirer, Sergei, features a “ventriloquist” performance by TMG of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. The camerawork instructively breaks down the components of ventriloquist performance for the unimpaired viewer. First, Romeo, with his back turned to the audience, signs to Juliet in the balcony. Subsequent shots frame Juliet in close-up facing the camera, her articulations synced to the speech of the female actor-announcer. The camera next cuts to this actor-announcer as she sits in the first row with the male actor-announcer, each with microphone in one hand, script in the other. The final shots focus on the actors’ quickly signing hands and the shadows produced on the set by their motion.

41. Polonskii L., “Otvetsvennost’ pered vremenem,” ZG 12 (1968): 10; and Korotkov's A. review of TMG, originally printed in ZG 8 (1971): 1415, reprinted in V. Palennyi and V. Skripov, “Teatr mimiki i zhesta,” in idem, Istoriia Vserossiskogo obshchestva glukhikh [History of the All-Russian Society of the Deaf], vol. 2 (Moscow: VOG, forthcoming).

42. Balashova N., “Kogda zanaves podniat,” ZG 10 (1971): 19. Balashova was the editor-in-chief of the journal Teatral'naia zhizn’ [Theatre Life].

43. Chion Michel, The Voice in Cinema (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 18.

44. Brudnyi, 39. As one ASD publication put it, “The soundless speech of the [deaf] performers was dubbed with great mastery by the actor-announcers.” Isaev I. A., V stroiu edinom: Kollektivnyi sbornik (Moscow: Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1988), 56. Dubbing, the common practice for foreign-language films in Soviet Russia, formed part of the country's complex oralism. Since subtitles made movies more accessible to a nonhearing audience, ZG included reviews of subtitled films in the late 1950s and 1960s. See Shapovalov S., “Fil'my est’, no … my ikh ne vidim,” ZG 4 (1959): 14.

45. Brudnyi, 38.

46. Ibid. In Dvoe, Natasha is embarrassed by her inability to synchronize gymnastic exercises with the rhythm of the hearing pianist's accompaniment during rehearsal, so she throws her boyfriend out of the practice hall to be alone with her “defect.” The July 1965 issue of ZG contains a plot synopsis and reviews supplied by deaf readers, who find the film interesting even as they criticize the female lead's muteness as unbelievable.

47. Zaitseva, 344.

48. Schweik Susan M., The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public (New York and London: New York University Press, 2009), 47.

49. Vygotsky promoted this cross-pollination from the outset by making actors the subject of his psychological essays and using the tools of dramatic practice in his work in abnormal child psychology. Neva Virginia Cramer, “Literacy as a Performing Art: A Phenomenological Study of Oral Dramatic Reading” (Ph.D. diss., Louisiana State University, 2003); online at http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-0127103-211254/…/Cramer_dis.pdf (accessed 1 February 2010).

50. Bulgakova Oksana, Fabrika zhestov (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2005), 206.

51. Polonskii L., “Spektakl’, sozvuchnyi vremeni,” ZG 8 (1970): 89, at 9.

52. Consider this TMG actor's self-appraisal two years into the studio's revival: “We are looking for new expressive colors of the language of gesture, and our mimicry is far from perfected”; Karychev V., “Teatr v puti,” ZG 1 (1967): 1819, at 19.

53. The negative review continues: the troupe cannot send up the improper bourgeois ideals of the play's antagonists because of the “unintelligible articulation of the performers, whose manual alphabet and signs are unclear. There is a lot that even the deaf viewer does not understand.” Polonskii, “Spektakl’, sozvuchnyi vremeni,” 9.

54. Deaf Life also recommended film as a form of oralist pedagogy that taught facial mimicry and pronunciation. Khvatsev M., “Kino uchit proiznosheniiu,” ZG 12 (1958): 23.

55. Kalugina A., “Oni budut akterami: V teatral'noi studii,” ZG 9 (1959): 22.

56. Soboleva L., “Zametki o rezhissure,” ZG 7 (1962): 1617.

57. Butler Judith, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Theatre Journal 40.4 (December 1988): 519, emphasis in original.

58. Andrew Parker and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick paraphrase J. L. Austin in their introduction to idem, eds., Performativity and Performance (New York: Routledge, 1995), 1–18, at 5.

59. See Mitchell David T. and Snyder Sharon L., Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001).

60. Ladd Paddy, “Colonialism and Resistance: A Brief History of Deafhood,” in Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking, ed. Bauman H-Dirksen L. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 4279, at 42.

61. Lane Harlan L., The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community (New York: Knopf, 1992), 43–5.

62. Sherry Mark, “(Post)colonising Disability,” Wagadu 4 (Summer 2007): 1022, at 10.

63. Though there is insufficient space to treat this collocation of colonial logics here, a chapter of my forthcoming dissertation is devoted to the labile relationship between processes of racialization and productions of “speechlessness” in the post-Stalinist imaginary. I examine silent performances of racial subjectivity, particularly pantomimes of the early 1960s, such as Rumnev's Africa and Slavskii's The Sun Rises over Africa.

64. Bhabha Homi K., “Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse” and “Sly Civility,” in idem, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994), 121–31 and 132–44, respectively. In The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores how racist Enlightenment philosophies of language, writing, and orality were used to justify colonialism and slavery.

65. Lane, 31.

66. Davidson Michael, “Hearing Things: The Scandal of Speech in Deaf Performance,” in Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature, ed. Bauman H-Dirksen L., Nelson Jennifer L., and Rose Heidi M. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 216–34, at 217.

67. Lane, 27.

68. I have culled this characterization of the deaf-mute as anomalous and out of historical sync from Lubovskii V. I., “Defectologiia,” in Bol'shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia, ed. Prokhorov A. (Moscow: Sovetskaia entsiklopediia, 1970).

69. Zaitseva, “Istoriia Glukhikh: Predmet i ob'ekt,” in Zhest i slovo, 442–7, at 444.

70. Ladd, 50.

71. Zaitseva, “Osnovnye problemy teatra glukhikh,” in Zhest i slovo, 346–55, at 349.

72. Richard Schechner, Performance Studies: An Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2002), 233.

73. Bhabha, “Of Mimicry and Man,” 122, emphasis in the original. In her relevant essay, Irina Sandomirskaja casts “the deaf-blind child … as opposed to the ideal human being as she appears in the discourse of Soviet normalization … as an almost-the-same or as a not-yet-the same.” “Skin to Skin: Language in the Soviet Education of Deaf-Blind Children, the 1920s and 1930s,” Studies in Eastern European Thought 60.4 (December 2008): 321–37, at 331.

74. Bhabha, “Of Mimicry and Man,” 128.

75. Schweik, 47.

76. Sandomirskaja, “Skin to Skin,” 331.

77. Kotkin Stephen, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as Civilization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 217, 220.

78. Yurchak Alexei, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006).

79. Fal'kovich El'ia Mordukhovikch, Iskusstvo lektora (Moscow: Gosizdat, 1960). Deaf institutions also emphasized the centrality of “lecture work” to the building of communism; see Korotkov A., “O formakh politicheskoi raboty,” ZG 1 (1961): 6.

80. Fal'kovich, 211.

81. Ibid., 259–60.

82. Murashov Iurii, “Sovetskii etos i radiofikatsiia pis'ma,” Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie 86 (2007): 4763, at 59.

83. Kaganovsky Lilya, “The Voice of Technology and the End of Soviet Silent Film: Grigorii Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg's Alone,” Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 1.3 (2007): 265–81, at 268, 265.

84. Armstrong Tim, Modernism, Technology, and the Body: A Cultural Study (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 233. As Yurchak has shown, the “external” aspect of an individual's speech act (its form) continued to be in tension with its “internal” or performative force in the post-Stalinist period. This distinction does not imply the “dissimulating subject” (Yurchak, 17) of cold war historiography who was privately dissenting while outwardly complicit; indeed, it need not presume that a socialist subject exists prior to discourse at all. Instead, the loosening relationship between form and content enabled a subject to “speak Bolshevik” while making “minute internal displacements” in meaning (Yurchak, 28).

85. Susan Burch has suggested that the Russian deaf person constituted the “ideal Soviet citizen,” what she called “the silent citizen,” who was eager to work (having not previously had the opportunity before the Revolution), who flooded into industrializing cities, and who was excited by the prospects of more systematic and geographically centralized education. Furthermore, the Soviet state counted on the greater “loyalty to the government [of the deaf] than ethnic minorities” because the deaf were not in touch with (by radio, for instance) and so could not have their political beliefs “adulterated by deaf America.” [The quotations in this footnote were transcribed by the author from a telephone conversation with Susan Burch on 14 April 2009.]

86. Siebers Tobin constructs a similarly chiasmic model of disability in Disability Theory (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2008).

87. Kommunisticheskaia partiia Sovetskogo soiuza, Programma Kommunisticheskoi partii Sovetskogo soiuza: Priniata XXII s'ezdom KPSS (Moscow: Politizdat, 1974), quoted in Bogen M. M., “Fizicheskoe sovershenstvo kak osnovnoe poniatie teorii fizichskoi kul'tury,” Teoriia i praktika fizicheskoi kul'tury 5 (1997): 1820, my emphasis; online at http://lib.sportedu.ru/press/tpfk/1997N5/p18-20.htm.

88. Bogen, my emphasis.

89. The rhythm of work was a recurrent topic in Deaf Life, as in this article about the deaf factory: “Ritm sorevnovaniia/Ritm sozidaniia [The Rhythm of Competition/The Rhythm of Creation],” ZG 2 (1967): 1.

90. Bhabha, “Of Mimicry and Man,” 122, 125.

91. Kalinovskii L., “K vershinam iskusstva,” ZG 9 (1963): 21.

92. Sapozhnikov I., “Za novye formy,” ZG 2 (1958): 23.

93. Gorbunov N., “Tvorcheskoe sodruzhestvo,” ZG 8 (1958): 20.

94. Smolenskaia T., “Teatr tishiny,” ZG 2 (1958): 23.

95. Rakitskaia N., “‘Bol'shaia pantomima,’ZG 10 (1958): 15; Sugarin V., “Odnako nadezhdy ne opravdalis,” ZG 3 (1959): 15; Dagmarova N. Ezer, “Pervyi opyt na novom poprishche,” ZG 10 (1958): 15. For positive and negative evaluations of Marceau, see Smolenskaia, 23; and Platov A., “Zametki pristrastnogo zritelia,” ZG 5 (1960): 16.

96. Promoters of the deaf-mime thesis include Smolenskaia T., “Ia uchus’ na volshebnika,” ZG 10 (1964): 15; and Grishin B., “Na tvorcheskie poiski: Mysli o pantomime,” ZG 12 (1962): 19. Others, such as Platov, refused the notion that the deaf were more artistically blessed than the hearing.

97. This direction of deaf theatre was embedded in one of TMG's opening-year acts: Zhili liudi [There Lived People], based on Maxim Gorky's story “Starukha Izergil’” [The Old Woman Izergil’]. Again in 1972, a “pure” pantomime called Ocharovannyi ostrov [Enchanted Island] was scripted and staged by Evgenii Kharitonov, who was a protégé of Rumnev, the founder of his own School of Nontraditional Stage Behavior, and an underground gay author. This culturally complicated performance, at the confluence of queer, deaf, and avant-garde circles, receives greater attention in my dissertation. Finally, TMG's award-winning production of Kaprichos [Los Caprichos] in 1977 about the deaf artist Francisco Goya intimates the promise of a proud deaf theatre.

98. Derrida Jacques, “From ‘The Double Session’ in Dissemination,” excerpts in A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds, ed. Kamuf Peggy (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 169–99.

99. Peggy Kamuf, Introduction to Derrida Jacques, From “The Double Session” in Dissemination, excerpts in A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds, ed. Kamuf Peggy (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 169–99, at 170.

100. Siebers, 2.

101. Grishin, 19.

Too few words have been written about Soviet silent theatre. I owe a special debt to Russia's premier mime, Il'ia Rutberg, for letting me record his reminiscences. In connection with Moscow's Deaf world, Susan Burch, Viktor Palennyi of the journal V edinom stroiu (formerly Zhizn’ glukhikh), and Michael Pursglove and Anna Komarova of the Moscow Bilingual School for Deaf Education.

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Theatre Survey
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