Levytsky, Fedir

Image - Fedir Levytsky in Mykhailo Starytsky's play.

Levytsky, Fedir [Левицький, Федір; Levyts'kyj], b 14 May 1858 in Novoukrainka, Yelysavethrad county, Kherson gubernia, d 19 February 1933 in Chernihiv. Actor (mainly comedic) and theater director. After working as a teacher in Novoukrainka (1877–87) and founding an amateur theater he began his professional career in Marko Kropyvnytsky’s troupe, joined Mykola Sadovsky’s troupe (1892–7), founded and directed his own troupe in 1905–8, and then entered Sadovsky's Theater in Kyiv (1909). Later he was a leading actor in the Ukrainian National Theater (1917–8) and the State Drama Theater (1917–19). After serving in Chernihiv okruha as an instructor of amateur village theaters he returned to Kyiv in 1925, to the Shevchenko First Theater of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. In 1930 he joined the Zhovten Theater in Petrograd-Leningrad. His last year was with the local theater in Lubny.

Characteristic of Levytsky’s acting was an ability to extend the dramatist’s intention and refresh it by strong improvisation. His repertoire consisted mostly of roles of dramas in the ethnographic theater of manners, including the Clerk in Ivan Karpenko-Kary’s Burlaka (The Vagabond), Cherevyk in Mykhailo Starytsky’s Sorochyns'kyi iarmarok (The Fair at Sorochyntsi, based on Nikolai Gogol), The Bailiff in Marko Kropyvnytsky’s Po reviziï (After the Inspection). He was also successful in roles such as Makar in Volodymyr Vynnychenko’s Moloda krov (Young Blood), Kopystka in Mykola Kulish’s 97, and, in the non-Ukrainian repertoire, Chris in Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie, Engstrand in Henrik Ibsen’s Gengangere, and Zemlianika in Gogol’s Revizor (The Inspector General). A biography, by Vasyl Vasylko, was published in Kyiv in 1958.

Valeriian Revutsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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