Gurdjieff International Review
Around the Theatre
The Voice of Moscow
November 21, 1914
[On the first few pages of In Search of the Miraculous, P. D. Ouspensky describes his return to Russia in November of 1914 and how, working as a journalist, he came across the following notice and put it in his newspaper that winter, shortly before his first meeting with Gurdjieff.
One day in the office of the newspaper I found, while preparing for the next issue, a notice (in, I think, The Voice of Moscow) referring to the scenario of a ballet, The Struggle of the Magicians, which belonged, as it said, to a certain Hindu. The action of the ballet was to take place in India and give a complete picture of Oriental magic including fakir miracles, sacred dances, and so on. I did not like the excessively jaunty tone of the paragraph, but as Hindu writers of ballet scenarios were, to a certain extent, rare in Moscow, I cut it out and put it into my paper, with the slight addition that there would be everything in the ballet that cannot be found in real India but which travelers go there to see.]
The Hindu I. G. G. popular with Moscow collectors, has written a most curious ballet scenario called The Struggle of the Magicians. The scenario is based on an imaginary Eastern tale, full of whimsical transformations and mysterious phenomena from the other side of the world.
In the ballet, most of the attention is given to various aspects of the occult, to the tricks and wonders of the fakirs, with whom I. G. G. had come into close contact during the many years of his travels in the East.
Some scenes contain so many complicated, sudden changes, and some of the tricks are so difficult and mystifying, that they are impossible to perform without the help of the author.
The music for The Struggle of the Magicians has not yet been composed, but the author of the scenario is planning to put it together using various Eastern melodies.
Initially I. G. G. planned on staging the ballet himself, not sparing any expense, but his friends have dissuaded him from doing so and suggest that he present The Struggle of the Magicians to the repertory office of the Bolshoi, which, as everyone knows is undergoing a lengthy ballet crisis.
[Translated from the Russian by Eileen Thalenberg.]
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