Menu Bar

The Hairy Ape
Kamerny Theatre
Moscow, Russia, 1926

Director: Alexander Tairov and Alice Koonen

Yank - Tsennin
Ella - Koonen


The background music, a naval hymn by the Russian Red Army Choir, has been added and is not part of the original silent clip.

The film, whose provenance is unknown, contains clips of the theatre directed by Alexander Tairov and his wife Alice Koonen.  Called the Kamerny (i.e. "Chamber") Theatre, it was founded in Moscow in 1914 in reaction to the realism of the Moscow Art Theatre of Stanislavsky.

While the O'Neill's were living at le Plessis, the Kamerny Theatre toured in western Europe with The Hairy Ape, Desire Under the Elms, and All God's Chillun Got Wings.  O'Neill admired their work and met the Tairovs.  He wrote a letter praising their work which was published in The New York Times on June 30, 1930.

There are four subtitles in the short clips, identifying what is on the screen.

1. Actress Koonen acts Ella (Evidently Tairov changed the name Mildred to Ella, a curious coincidence.)

2. Actor Tsennin acts Yank

3. The Pushkin Kamerny Theatre (Tairov's theatre)

4. Moscow Kamerny Theatre helps the theatre school of the Artillery. (Evidently units of the army developed various schools of the arts.)

The group photograph near the end shows Tairov standing just to the right of center.

Copyright 1999-2013