Baring the Frame: Meyerhold's Refraction of Gozzi's Love of Three Oranges

Dassia N. Posner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In 1761, Count Carlo Gozzi created a reflective analysis of an Italian fairy tale about three oranges, framing his commedia dell'arte-infused scenario with a series of polemical attacks on his theatrical rivals. In 1914, Vsevelod Meyerhold and two collaborators, Konstantin Vogak and Vladimir Soloviev, published a reflective analysis of Gozzi's reflective analysis. This new Love of Three Oranges (Liubov k trem apel'sinam, translated as Love for Three Oranges), served as the source material for Sergei Prokofiev's opera (1919; Chicago world premiere, 1921). It is also one of the most illuminating, yet strangely understudied sources of information on how Meyerhold redefined the theatrical event, the creative process of the director, and the role of the actor in the years preceding the October Revolution. In particular, this Russian Three Oranges explores how a conscious relationship between actor and character in concert with framing devices that delineate levels of fiction can emphasize an experience peculiar to the theatre: regardless of style, audiences inevitably maintain both belief and disbelief in what they see and perceive theatrical performance as simultaneously real and not real.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-388
Number of pages27
JournalTheatre Survey
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 7 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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