Russian encodings:

Third International Chekhov Theatre Festival
dedicated to the Centenary of the Moscow Art Theatre

The Moscow Art Theatre has come close to that dead-end, which in the natural course of things awaits any artistic body whose creative activity has gained strength and general recognition, if it stops to eliminate its shortcomings but solidifies them instead, sometimes even turning them into a kind of "sacred tradition". Such a body "closes onto itself" and gets paralyzed by inertia.

To me, who has lived in theatrical atmosphere for over sixty years, this picture of a theatre's 'impoverishment' is well familiar. Such a theatre will be in luck if a Seagull happens to fly in, giving it a good shake and waking it up.

With all the energy that is still at my disposal, I will try to divert this danger of stagnation from the Moscow Art Theatre.

The ways to salvation are hard but clear...

"Stop, look at your life, open the windows to let the fresh air in, take a sweep to get rid of the litter, and scrape away the contaminating sores!"

And today is the day to do it!

24 July, 1942

I have lived long. I have seen much. I was rich and then became poor. I have seen the world. I had a good family and children. Life has scattered them all around the world. I sought fame. I have found it. I have been honoured. I was young. I have grown old. It will soo be time to die.

Now ask me, what is happiness in the world?

In getting to know things. And also in art and in work, and in getting to know art.

As you get to know art within yourself, you also get to know nature, the life of the world, the meaning of life, the soul and talent.

There is no happiness above this.

20 January, 1935

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