A minor, but really amusing work by the Russian novelist and playwright, whose difficulties with the early Stalinist regime have been posthumously rewarded by publication in the Soviet journal Nvy Mir, and whose Master and Marguerita was touted in the U.S. last year. Bulgakov's novel The White Guard (which will inevitably appear here long as the harried search for readable Russians goes on) was staged by the Moscow Art Theatre in 1926 as The Days of the Turbins and it is this involvement as an author with an adaptation of a novel that may have prompted this witty and sometimes hilariously satiric barb at the ruling theatricals. The view of Stanislavski, masquerading here as ""Ivan Vasilievich"" is a mad parody, as the Great Director loosens his actors by enforced bicycle riding, improvised shrieks out of imaginary windows, endless exercises in proffering bouquets. More May merriment as the King of the ticket office, lord of his realm, in constant motion, races from his post to pay brief tribute to a departed fireman, races back to confront weeping women, beseeching mobs. Throughout there are rearing conflicts, mysterious rituals, terrible and wonderful unbarings of spirits as the poor author hopes--in vain--for the final consummation. Some of the humor seems dimmed by time and events, but many inspired capers and an occasional one-line miracle of nonsense make this a pleasant journey eastward.