The persistence of the theatre under the Russian Revolution is not without parallel in social and political upheavals. Paris went to the playhouse under Jacobin just as under Bourbon, under the Commune just as under the Empire or the Republic. The nature of the persisting theatre in Moscow and Petrograd, however, is a distinctive phenomenon of the Russian Revolution, an eloquent comment upon the inherent nature of that theatre and upon the Russian character and life. In previous times of social stress, the playhouse of pastime satisfied the public caprice. In Revolutionary Russia, the theatre of profound introspection and inspiration is the one which has persisted.
The serious theatre, the theatre as an art and not a pastime or an industry, has persisted through the anxious and constraining days of the Russian upheaval because that has been its firmly established spirit for a hundred years. The fact that it has weathered the storms of the class struggle, of the Terror and of starvation proves that it is the honest expression of Russian character and illuminates the imaginative and spiritual quality of Russian life.