Apartment of the Actress Vera Ivanova

             Torgovaya Street

 

             The premiere of the play was celebrated with a masquerade party at the home of one of the actresses, Vera Ivanova. During the intermission of the play, the actresses had passed out invitations from “the paper ladies,” who had just arrived by balloon from the moon. The evening was truly a continuation of the merry masquerade of lovers in Blok's play; the men were given masks to wear, and the ladies dressed in ball gowns made of colorful crepe paper. Volokhova even recalls putting makeup on Blok as they were all getting into costume. The actress Verigina recalls the magic of the evening: “the women…were in costumes of the same style but different colors made of fine paper trimmed with matching ribbons, in half–masks, unfamiliar, new and young in the light of the colored lanterns. They danced, circled, sat on the floor, sang, drank wine that gleamed red in long glasses, tenderly and quietly making merry in the half–dark room.”

 

Natalya Volokhova Vera Ivanova
Natalya Volokhova   Vera Ivanova
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             The guest list included the cast and all those involved with the play's production, as well as other poets and artists who had been part of this inner circle since Vera Kommisarzhevskaya's receptions in the fall. The central figures, however, became Blok and Volokhova, who was dressed in lilac. The actress sat next to the poet as he read his poetry, and it seemed to all that this was the beginning of their affair; Mikhail Kuzmin wrote in his journal entry for the day that Blok left the party with Volokhova.

 

             The classic love triangle of The Puppet Show took shape that evening on multiple levels. Blok abandoned his wife for Volokhova, while his wife, Lyubov Dmitrievna Blok, began an affair with the poet and critic Georgy Chulkov. Lyubov Dmitrievna noticed what was happening between her husband and Volokhova, and she silently stood, removed her necklace, and placed it on Volokhova's neck, as a sign of her assumption of the role of the poet's Muse.

 

Manuscript page Title page
Manuscript page   Title page
Blok's book of verse The Snow Mask
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             The night inspired Blok's next book of verse The Snow Mask (Snezhnaia Maska), which was written in a period of only two weeks in January 1907 and dedicated to Volokhova: “To the tall woman in black with the winged eyes, enamored of the lights and darkness of my snowy city.”