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News

The Don Playwright and Writer

23.05.2016

On June 2, 2016, it is the 140th anniversary of the well-known writer and playwright Konstantin Andreyevich Trenyov, the author of a great number of stories, short stories and plays. He was born in 1876, in Romashovo Village of the Volchansky District the Kharkov Region. Trenyov spent his childhood and adolescence near the railway station of Millerovo, in the village called now Trenyovka. Konstantin went to Kamensk two-year school. Following it he studied in the agricultural school at Dergachi Station near Kharkov. His inspirations for study led him to Novocherkassk Theological Seminary, then to Petersburg Theological Academy. Simultaneously Trenyov graduated from the Petersburg Archaeological Institute and some years later, being rather an old writer and teacher Konstantin Andreyevich graduated from the Agricultural Institute in Simferopol considering that an author writing on peasant themes must know agricultural science of agronomy.

For a long time Konstantin Andreyevich lived in Novocherkassk. In one of his letters to a Don journalist Yakov Pavlovich Lepilin, his friend to the end of his life, he wrote: “I was initially disappointed by Novocherkassk, but then it entered into me for the whole of my life as my favourite town…there is poetry of my youth, because the most tender and cherished sources opened for me.” There he began his journalist and literary career. Within 1905–1906, he was chief editor of the newspaper “Donskaya Zhizn” (Don Life) and simultaneously he cooperated with the newspaper “Donskaya Rech” (Don Speech) publishing articles, feuilletons pseudonymous “K.Kharkovsky”.

The first book of the writer was a short story “To the Fair” published in 1898 in the newspaper “Donskaya Rech”. It was followed by the stories “The Lost Well”, “Floodplain”, “Whirlwinds”, “Six Weeks”, “The Farm Labourers” and “Ganna”.

The prototypes of Trenyov’s numerous stories were his countrymen –nonresidents, who couldn’t get rid of hopeless penury in the Don country.

In 1909 he moved to Simferopol, where he lived twenty years going on with his literary and pedagogical activity.

Konstantin Andreyevich gained a wide recognition as the outstanding playwright and the author of wonderful and highly artistic plays. Trenyov enriched dramaturgy with an art of tense drama storyline, colourful pictures of everyday

life, truthful and realistic character sketches, bright dialogues and love for rich language. The first dramatic works by Trenyov were staged before the Revolution in Novocherkassk. The most important play was “The Dorogins” published in the journal “Zavety”(1912). In 1924, the play “Pugachov Peasant Uprising” was written in the genre of people’s tragedy. It narrates about the uprising of the Don Cossacks headed by Yemeliyan Pugachov. Trenyov did not imagine it to be staged. As he remembered, «“Pugachov Peasant Uprising” written by me not for the theatre was published, but was not offered to the theatres.» This play entirely determined a true vocation of Trenyov. Though he did not cease fiction writing, yet his literary passion was playwriting.

While the first performances of “Pugachov Peasant Uprising” were being staged at the Art Theatre, Trenyov was overwhelmed working over a new play, “Lyubov Yarovaya”, conceived as early as the time of the Civil War. During the first years the play just took hold of the audience being a great success. In December 1926, it was staged in the Maly Theatre and even in small towns (for instance, Kamensk, Shakhti) it ran in packed halls more than 30 times during the summer.

During the years of the Great Patriotic War Konstantin Andreyevich wrote a number of patriotic stories and two plays. The first of them is “Towards” devoted to the first stage of the war against fascists, the second play was “General”, a historical and patriotic work devoted to the powerful image of field marshal M.I.Kutuzov. The writer’s death stopped his work over the drama “The Youth of Peter”.

To the end of his life Trenyov kept in touch with the Don country. He often visited Novocherkassk and was well aware of its problems. He helped in creating a picture gallery of the artists-countrymen: M.B.Grekov, N.N.Dubovsky and I.I.Krylov, who bequeathed some of their works to the town. He petitioned for the revival of the drama theatre, was interested in the work of young writers, helped in raising their artistic skill and met with ordinary village workers.

With a deep feeling of reverence he spoke about his native country, the Don region: “For all my life I deeply love my home country, the Don, where I spent my childhood, youth and mature years. I began my literary career with depicting these very places, the Quiet Don and its people. In these depictions I embodied all my love, delight and sadness. I have no other dearer, closer and more favourite place in the world than the quiet Don and its broad shining and dreaming fields…”

Konstantin Andreyevich with love and admiration spoke about the work of M.A.Sholokhov as a writer, who glorified in his immortal works the favourite Trenyov’s Don country.

K.A.Trenyov, the great Russian novelist and playwright, for almost a half-century career was worthily awarded the State Stalin Prize in 1941 for the play “Lyubov Yarovaya”, he was also awarded the orders of the “Labour Red Banner” and of the “Badge of Honour”.

Galina Govorukhina