Alexander Vampilov

Alexander Vampilov with his outstanding plays and short stories became a truly cult figure in the 1970s. Within ten short years of his literary career he managed to create his own peculiar realm of the play. Later, after his untimely death, his plays took the world stage, whereas his name came to be considered among the most notable classic playwrights and theatre figures.

Alexander Valentinovich Vampilov was born in the settlement Kutulik of Alarsky District, the Irkutsk Region, on 19 August 1937. His father - Valentin Nikitich Vampilov – a gifted teacher and a bright personality – was arrested soon after the birth of his son and was shot by a sentence of the Irkutsk NKVD department on 9 March 1938. At the same time Alexander’s grandfather (after his mother), a former priest, was also executed. In 1957 they were rehabilitated posthumously. The mother of the future dramatist — Anastasia Prokop’evna Vampilovа-Kopylova was left alone to bring up her four children and continued working as a teacher of Mathematics in Kutulik school. She had a decisive impact on development of Alexanders personality.

As a schoolboy Alexander started writing poetry but kept it in secret. In 1955 Аlexander Vampilov entered the History and Philology Faculty of the Irkutsk State University. The first short story by A.Vampilov then a third-year student - Coincidences was published under the nickname of A.Sanin in the Irkutsk Universitet newspaper in 1958. The short story also gave name to Alexander Vampilov’s first book published in 1961; it was a collection of humorous stories and sketches.

In October 1959 A.Vampilov, still a five-year student, was employed as a literary contributor of the advanced regional newspaper Soviet Youth. He worked there as a regular contributor, a subeditor and an executive secretary till February 1964.

In autumn 1965 according to results of the Chita Seminar of Young Writers Alexander Vampilov was recommended to the Union of Writers.

In his literary career Alexander Vampilov wrote about 70 short stories, sketches, essays and satirical articles. In 1962 A.Vampilov wrote the one-act play Twenty Minutes with an Angel. It was followed by the one-act comedy play House, Overlooking the Field in 1963 and his first big play – the comedy Farewell in June in 1964 – it gained him fame and acknowledgment and was staged in many theatres; the author added and changed it several times and there are four versions of the play known today.

In 1965 the young playwright wrote the comedy The Elder Son in the best traditions of Gogol and Chekhov. In 1968 he finished his most bitter and dismal drama Duck Hunting about a disappointed person who has lost all interest and meaning of life.

In 1971 A.Vampilov completed his drama Last Summer in Chulimsk (first title Valentina). “Together with Vampilov sincerety and kindness came to the theatre” – the writer Valentin Rasputing wrote. Valentina took the stage and everything dirty and mean retreated…”

The same year the writer created the one-act play An Incident with a Paginator; combined with Twenty Minutes with an Angel it made up his last play Provincial Anecdotes.

On 17 August 1972, a day before his 35th birthday Alexander Vampilov tragically died in an accident: his motor boat turned upside down and he drowned in Baikal Lake. His unfinished work – the vaudeville Peerless Nakonechnikov - was left to lie on his writing desk…

After the death of the young writer his posthumous fame was rapidly growing: his books started to be published, theatres staged his plays (The Elder Son was on in 44 theatres of the country at once), and film directors launched production of films after his works.

Alexander Vampilov Museum was established in Kutulik Settlement, and Theatre of the Young Spectator in Irkutsk was named after him. In 1996 A.Vampilov Foundation was established in Irkutsk, and in 2003 his monument was set up in Irkuts


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