Marko Kropyvnytskyi

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Marko Kropyvnytsky in 1890s
Kropyvnytskyi family coat of arms

Marko Kropyvnytskyi (Ukrainian: Марко Лукич Кропивницький, Marko Lukych Kropyvnytsky; Russian: Маркъ Лукичъ Кропивницкiй, Mark Lukich Kropivnitskiy; May 7, 1840, Bezhbairaky village, Kherson Governorate – 21 April 1910, en route to Kharkiv) was a Ukrainian writer, dramaturge, composer, theatre actor and director. Over his career Kropyvnytskyi wrote 40 plays, played in over 500 roles of various repertoire, as well as wrote several songs.[1][2]

In 1875, he was invited by Theophilia Romanovich to the theatrical society "Ruska Besida", and is attributed to be one of the founders of the first professional Ukrainian theatre, The Ruska Besida Theater.[3]

Early years[edit]

Marko Kropyvnytsky was born on May 7, 1840 in Bezhbayraky village (now Kropyvnytske), Kherson Governorate in a family of nobleman Luka Ivanovych Kropyvnytsky and Kapitolina Ivanivna (née Dubrovynska).[4]

Creativity start[edit]

In 1862 as an audit student, M. Kropyvnytsky attended classes at the Law Faculty of Kiev University. Deeply impressed by a melodrama he saw in Kiev Theatre, he wrote the play "Mykyta Starostenko, or You do know when disaster will awake" (Ukrainian: Микита Старостенко, або Незчуєшся, як лихо спобіжить). He later criticized this work as it was an attempt by inexperienced author. Now the play is known in the version, that has undergone numerous fundamental revisions. M. Kropyvnytsky had not completed his education for various reasons; yet he constantly complemented to his knowledge independently, especially after he moved to Elisavetgrad, where there was a library. There, he had a chance to get acquainted with Robert Owen, John Stuart Mill, Shakespeare, Byron, Goethe, Heine, Dumas, George Sand, Thackeray and many others. At the government service, he almost got no promotion, and often completely lost his earnings due to his devotion for art and amateur performances.

In 1871 Kropyvnytsky joined the troupe of professional actors, and agreed to work in the company of Count Morkov (Odessa). He gained a great theatrical experience after spending over ten years in the Russian theater troupe; he thoroughly studied the specific rules of theater genre and learned the place of theater in society.

In 1872 the Odessa newspaper "Novorossiysk Telegraph" published two musical comedies by M.Kropyvnytsky: Reconciled and God will protect an orphan, or Unexpected Proposal.

In 1875 Kropyvnytsky went for tour in Galicia, where he worked as an actor and director of the theater company "Ruthenian talk"; he has made some effort to change the repertoire and artistic style of the theater in bringing it to the realism and national character.

Creating the Coryphee Theatre[edit]

In 1881 the ban for Ukrainian theater was abolished; though there still were many limitations and restrictions, Ukrainian troupes emerged in Kiev, Kharkiv, Odessa. Yet these troupes did not satisfy Marko Kropyvnytsky, who sought for dramatic changes in scenic art. In 1882 he organized his own company, that in about a year merged with the Mykhailo Starytsky troupe, and Marko Kropyvnytsky became a leading director there. A new era in the history of Ukrainian professional theater began. Many famous actors played in Kropivnitskiy' troupe, such as: Maria Zankovetska, Mykola Sadovsky, later M.Sadovska-Barilotti, Panas Saksahansky, Ivan Karpenko-Kary.

At the beginning Kropivnitskiy wrote mainly comedy pieces: Reconciled (1869), God will protect an orphan, or Unexpected Proposal (1871), Actor Sinitsa (1871), A revision (1882), Mustache (1885) and others.

Later period[edit]

In 1890s Kropivnitskiy called his pieces "pictures" not just once; "pictures of rural movement" ("Konon Blyskavychenko", 1902, "Tough Day", 1906), "pictures of rural life" ("Old bitch and young shoots», 1908) etc.

Even in his later years, forced by worsening health to settle in a farm House, Kropivnitskiy often travelled to participate in theatre performances, he continued writing plays. Kropivnitskiy bothered for organization of a school for farmers and their children, created two plays for children, using folk motifs (Ivasik-Telesyk, On the wave of the wand), and worked on its staging at the farm.

Marko Kropyvnytsky's grave Kharkiv

Marko Kropyvnytsky died on 21 April 1910, on his way from Odessa, where he was on tour; he was buried in Kharkiv.


In July 2016 the city of Kirovohrad was renamed Kropyvnytskyi in his honour.[5][6][7][8]

In 2008 Marko's grandson, Ihor Kropyvnytskyi said the following, "Created by Marko Kropyvnytskyi under conditions of a brutal national oppression, the professional theatre was one of main sources of cultural revival of the yoked nation during many years, particularly considering that many of our compatriots were illiterate at that time and were not able to read wonderful poetry and stories of Taras Shevchenko, Marko Vovchok, Ivan Franko and other Ukrainian writers. The Marko Kropyvnytskyi Theatre gave not only an extraordinary push for further development of Ukrainian culture, but also played a prominent socio-political role in the life of Ukrainians, became one of important spiritual foundations on which many decades later was built independent Ukrainian state".

About Kropyvnytskyi, Maksym Rylsky wrote the following, "Let's lower our foreheads: a genius was here, for people he worked and was tormented, so that the people would be treated just, so that the land would be green in garden's bloom" (Ukrainian: Схилим чоло: тут віяв геній, Народу син творив тут і страждав, Щоб для народу домогтися прав, Щоб на землі сади цвіли зелені...).[2]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Today is the birthday of the founder of Ukrainian Theatre Marko Kropyvnytskyi (Сьогодні – День народження фундатора українського театру Марка Кропивницького). Newspaper "Den". 7 May 2013
  2. ^ a b Kropyvnytskyi, I. Ukrainian Shakespeare (Український Шекспір). Newspaper "Den". 20 May 2010.
  3. ^ Revutsky, V. Marko Kropyvnytsky. Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  4. ^ Shepel, L.F., Gruzin, D.V. Marko Kropyvnytskyi. Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine
  5. ^ Sweeping out Soviet past: Kirovohrad renamed Kropyvnytsky, UNIAN (14 July 2016)
  6. ^ (in Ukrainian) Profile Committee of the Council decided on a new name for Kirovohrad, Ukrayinska Pravda (31 March 2016)
  7. ^ Goodbye, Lenin: Ukraine moves to ban communist symbols, BBC News (14 April 2015)
    (in Ukrainian) Verkhovna Rada renamed Kirovograd, Ukrayinska Pravda (14 July 2016)
  8. ^ "Офіційний портал Верховної Ради України". Retrieved 20 July 2016.

External links[edit]