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| foreword |

While the term dramaturg usually refers toaplaywright inthe Russian theatre, weuse itquite differently inthe United States. Adramaturg inAmerica can lend conceptual support toadirector, bringing structural, historical, and textual research tothe rehearsal process. Dramaturgs can translate oradapt existing texts, ordevelop anumber ofeclectic sources into new theatre pieces. Dramaturgs also work with playwrights astheir new plays are produced, helping them toorganize and rewrite throughout the process. Lastly, dramaturgs communicate with and reach out toaudiences, writing articles and holding discussions about the plays produced intheir theatres.

We are agroup offive American students pursuing our Master ofFine Arts degrees indramaturgy from the Moscow Art Theatre School/American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training atHarvard University inCambridge, Massachusetts. Over two-and-a-half years oftraining, wetake classes indramatic structure, play adaptation, production dramaturgy, new play development, structural aesthetics, and drama history, among other subjects. Weread numerous plays and essays todevelop our analytical skills and our base ofknowledge. Throughout our training, wealso provide dramaturgical support for plays produced bythe American Repertory Theatre and bythe Institute for Advanced Theatre Training.

Beginning inMarch ofour first year, wespend three months atthe Moscow Art Theatre School. InMoscow, westudy Russian theatre history and contemporary Russian theatre with Professor Anatoly Smeliansky. Wemeet with Russian theatre professionals inavariety offields tolearn how theatre isproduced inthis country. Wehave spent these months talking with journalists, directors, designers, executive directors, and press representatives. Additionally, wehear aseries oflectures atthe Bakhrushin Theatre Museum onthe history ofRussian stage design. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, weattend more than fifty plays, ballets, and operas inorder toget asense oftrends inartistic production onthe Russian stage.

By writing the following articles onour impressions oftheatrical life inRussia, wehope toprovide anoutside perspective for Russians familiar with the system and aninside view for unfamiliar Americans. Although weare returning toCambridge tocontinue our studies for another year, wehope tobring with usthe lessons wehave learned during our three months inRussia. Weleave behind these essays, our attempts toreport onand interpret what wehave seen. They range from assessments ofproductions tothe most trivial elements ofseeing plays, but together they form amulti-dimensional picture ofone ofthe world's most vibrant theatre cities.