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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Elvira A. Arsalia
  • Pages: 302–307
  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
  • Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
  • Rights – URL: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: Abkhazia in Russian Literature of the 19th — 20th Centuries: in 3 vols. Vol. 2
  • DOI:
  • EDN:

  • Year of publication: 2023
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Arsalia, E.A. “Alexander Shervashidze-Chachba. Sketch of Set and Costumes for Nikolay Yevreinov’s Performance ‘Merry Death’.” Abkhaziia v russkoi slovesnosti XIX–XX vv.: v 3 t. [Abkhazia in Russian Literature of the 19th–20th Centuries: in 3 vols.], vol. 2, ex. ed. M.I. Shcherbakova. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2023, pp. 302–307. (In Russian)

Information about the author:

Elvira A. Arsalia, member of the Artists’ Union of Abkhazia, a member of the Russia Designers Association, Laureate of the State Prize D.I. Gulia, Director, Central Exhibition Hall of the Union of Artists, Lakoba 31, 384900 Sukhum, Republic of Abkhazia.

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The episodes of the creative history of a series of sketches of scenery and costumes by the artist A.K. Shervashidze-Chachba for the performance of Nikolai Evreinov “Merry Death” are presented. They date back to the beginning of 1919, when Shervashidze-Chachba arrived in Sukhum with his friends, director N. Evreinov and actress N. Butkovskaya. It is emphasized that this was a period of active social activity of the artist in Abkhazia — he dreamed of creating an open-air museum, educational centers, an art studio, and staging performances by N. Evreinov in Sukhum. Turning to memoirs made it possible to see a favorable combination of circumstances that gave the Sukhumi public the opportunity to see the premieres, which were held with great success. With the permission of the administration, rehearsals began, which took place from morning to evening; the work of A. Shervashidze-Chachba on the creation of sketches unfolded, the scenery was prepared in the attic of the theater with students. It is noted that the stage designer helped the director combine the Russian folk theater and the commedia dell’arte. Such an observation was made as a result of the analysis of sketches of the costumes of Harlequin, Columbine and Silent Death.

  • Keywords: the history of the theater, A.K. Shervashidze-Chachba, N. Evreinov, “Merry Death,” scenography, folk theater, commedia dell’arte.


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