Taking place on the third anniversary of the revolution, it was directed by Nikolai Evreinov and was subtitled a “mass action.” The sets were designed by Yuri Annenkov. The spectacle was staged outside the former Tsarist Winter Palace where the Provisional Government was meeting at the time of the Bolshevik coup. Its performers included 125 ballet dancers, 100 circus people, 1,750 supernumeraries and students, 200 women, 260 secondary actors, and 150 assistants. There were also tanks and armoured cars involved.
The mass spectacle form took the pre-revolutionary Symbolist utopias of “ritual theatre” (whose formulation was largely a response to the abortive 1905 revolution), and recast their “people” as the proletariat. Performed on 7 November before 100,000 spectators, the action begins with the February Revolution, follows the gradual organization of the workers (on a red stage to the left, with Kerensky and the Provisional Government on a white stage to the right), until they are illuminated fully by searchlights, and crying “Lenin, Lenin” charge over the arch which joins the two stages to do battle with the “Whites.” Kerensky leaps to a car for an escape, and is pursued along a path between the two large groups of spectators by trucks full of the Red Guard waving bayonets, to the Palace. Silhouettes struggle in the windows of the Palace, until the Red Army is finally successful, and red lights flash out. A cannon fired from the battleship Aurora and fireworks herald the victory of the October Revolution.
Nov. 30, 1960: Karen Cohen, allergic to animals with fur but not scales, with her pet snake, Midnight. Karen’s condition and experience with snakes apparently persuaded zookeepers at the Bronx Zoo to let her pet a 12-foot python during a visit. “The snake is nice,” she told the reporter John C. Devlin, “but all those people make me nervous.” Photo: Patrick A. Burns/The New York Times
"the snake is nice, but all those people make me nervous."