The Üble Marionette

Still from The Üble Marionette (The Extraordinary Marionette). Toyoji Tomita as Takashima, the blind director. Video excerpt below.

About the work

The Üble Marionette In 1919 agit train theaters rolled across the young soviet republic to bring news of the Revolution to the agrarian provinces, which had yet to be connected by radio or newspaper. Agit-prop performances were staged in the railway cars and from the station platforms. In 1959 the newly formed troupe of the blind director Takashima left Moscow for the fortieth anniversary tour of the agit-prop trains. Although promised a dozen experienced actors for the tour, Takashima encounters only one other person on the train. Her name is Stella Grohsky, married to Bruno Grohsky.

Related Works


Part 2, The Üble Marionette. Stella discovers the original Constructivist theater
documents missed by the censors.


  • Performers:  Toyoji Tomita, Margaret Fisher, Mark Groh, Alex Prisadsky
  • Camera: David Heintz, Bassem Elias, Margaret Fisher
  • Music: Robert Hughes
  • Voice-over: Lulia Ronskaya, Arkadi Serper, Valentin Popov, Archana Horsting, Sandro Martini
  • Sets: Janice Campbell, David Jouris, Chris McFee
  • Script, Direction, Digital Effects, Montage:  Margaret Fisher
  • Produced by:  International Performance Network and MAFISHCO
  • Language: Russian   Subtitles: English
  • Original format:  VHS, re-photography, Amiga graphics
  • Release date:  1992 TRT:  30 minutes
  • Genres:  American Dance on Video, Video Shorts, Constructivism

Screenings and Awards

  • JVC Tokyo Video Festival: Special Merit Award
  • East Bay Video Festival, Berkeley, CA: Festival First Prize
  • Mill Valley Film Festival, Mill Valley, CA: Videofest
  • The Squeaky Wheel, Buffalo NY:  The Translation and Replication Series
  • Mills College Littlefield Concert Hall, Oakland CA:  Songlines Series