The Russian theatre has undergone several phases of development since the demarcation from the past, as represented by Alexander Vampilov. To begin with, the theatre preferred dramatization of modern literature, but this gave way to consideration of the paradoxes of life, often absurdist. Then, with the end of the Soviet system, there were the chernukha, black plays, particularly of Shipenko, Ugarov and Knjazev. More recently still, the ‘scenic reading’ of plays explored the suitability of various life-conflicts for drama. ‘August’ by Timophei Khmeljev concerned the inhabitants of an old dacha near Moscow. The pattern was related to Chekhov and Nietzsche. Kazantsev's ‘That this world’ and Razumovskaya's ‘Biography’ concerned life after death. Alexander Stroganov's ‘Ornithology’ relates human and bird life. Russian drama is in a very active and explorative phase, trying to catch a lost happiness.