Cherry Orchard: 1904, first staged January 17, 1904, Chekhov's birthday; the author died a few months later the same year.
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THR215 DramLit
* The Compact Bedford Intro to Drama (textbook) *

From DramLit 2. Shakespeare: From the beginning of Modern Age to High Modernity (Chekhov) = Modernism

Modernity is a term used to describe the condition of being "Modern". Since the term "Modern" is used to describe a wide range of periods, modernity must be taken in context.
* Modern can mean all of post-medieval European history, in the context of dividing history into three large epochs: Antiquity or Ancient history, the Middle ages, and Modern. It is also applied specifically to the period beginning somewhere between 1870 and 1910, through the present, and even more specifically to the 1910-1960 period.
[ see wikipedia ]

Social, economic, and political rise to power of the middle (bourgeois) classes of industrialists, businessmen, merchants, and professionals; decline of the aristocracy and alliance of aristocratic interests with those of the successful among the bourgeoisie.
Fall 2005 mini-chekhov * [ 2005 ]

Modern Theories

2004 Theatre UAF

* Intro: Rule of Dramaturgue *

SHOWS: 12th Night

Theatre Theory

vital contradictions: "the three" (Chekhov - Ibsen - Strindberg) -- how to introduced them after Shakespeare?

"Good Writer" -- what is it?

1. Simplicity (details)

2. Subtext (why and how)

3. Character is in the center (forms of drama)

4. The Old Rules (composition); genre writing and new forms

5. New Feelings (new themes)?

6. "Talent" (Chekhov's favorite criteria) -- what does it mean?

Stage directions -- as prose? A lot of it! (compare with Ibsen, Chekhov is a writer!)

"Chekhov Reading Strindberg" -- 3 Sisters and Ms. Julie. Character analysis on 3 Sis webpages!

215 * Bedford + must subscribe, if in class! "The Nordic Trio": Ibsen (Naturalism), Chekhov (Realism), Strindberg (Symbolism)

... textbook 693-94 on Realism

Make your mind on wrting paper/play for final!

samples :


* more notes (last minute) at google calendar Anatoly UAF

* Chekhov (like Shakespeare) will be refered to in all 20 century dramas.


Index * Theatre w/Anatoly * Film Books * Students * Spectator * Virtual Theatre * Script Analysis * SHOWS * Film Theory * Film Directing * Plays * Write * Web * Classes * Bookmark vTheatre! Mailing List & News -- subscribe yourself * Method Acting for Directors *

Part III. Intro

Character instead of Plot? Characters as Thoughts. Polyphonic (Bakhtin on Dostoevsky and "Drama Principle," according to Aristotle is the highest kind of poetry.)

High Modernity

Tragedy or Melodrama? ... Man and the Masses. Genres and the New Drama.

Chekhov & Co.

mini-chekhov: UAF 2005
Cherry Orchard

2005 Fall -- THR215 Dramatic Literature :

Part 1. Oedipus

Part 2. Hamlet

Part 3. Chekhov (Cherry Orchard) and High Modernism

Part 4. Postmodern: Becket

Part 5. Writing

Main & 2005 THR215 * Antiquity I * Modern Times II * High Modern (Realism) III * Postmodern (Absurdism) IV * V *
Bedford Textbook INTRO to DRAMA (Fifth Edition 2005) 0312414412

[ Commentaries: Letters * Gorky * Virginia Woolf * Peter Brook ]
"All I wanted was to say honestly to people: 'Have a look at yourselves and see how bad and dreary your lives are!' The important thing is that people should realize that, for when they do, they will most certainly create another and better life for themselves. I will not live to see it, but I know that it will be quite different, quite unlike our present life. And so long as this different life does not exist, I shall go on saying to people again and again: 'Please, understand that your life is bad and dreary!'" Anton Chekhov
[ "create another and better life for themselves" -- existential message? ] * Two of the most disruptive thinkers of the period were, in biology Charles Darwin, and in political science Karl Marx. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection undermined religious certainty of the general public, and the sense of human uniqueness of the intelligentsia. The notion that human beings were driven by the same impulses as "lower animals" proved to be difficult to reconcile with the idea of an ennobling spirituality. Karl Marx seemed to present a political version of the same problem: that problems with the economic order were not transient, the result of specific wrong doers or temporary conditions, but were fundamentally contradictions within the "capitalist" system. Both thinkers would spawn defenders and schools of thought that would become decisive in establishing modernism.


Modernism as an artistic and cultural movement is generally defined as the advent of new forms of art, architecture, music and literature emerging in the decades before 1914 as artists rebelled against late 19th century artistic traditions.

Precursors to modernism

The first half of the 19th century for Europe was marked by a series of turbulent wars and revolutions, which gradually formed into a series of ideas and doctrines now identified as Romanticism, which focused on individual subjective experience, the supremacy of "Nature" as the standard subject for art, revolutionary or radical extensions of expression, and individual liberty. By mid-century, however, a synthesis of these ideas, and stable governing forms had emerged. Called by various names, this synthesis was rooted in the idea that what was "real" dominated over what was subjective. It is exemplified by Otto von Bismarck's realpolitik, philosophical ideas such as positivism and cultural norms now described by the word Victorian.

Central to this synthesis, however, was the importance of institutions, common assumptions and frames of reference. These drew their support from religious norms found in Christianity, scientific norms found in classical physics and doctrines which asserted that depiction of the basic external reality from an objective standpoint was possible. Cultural critics and historians label this set of doctrines Realism, though this term is not universal. In philosophy, the rationalist and positivist movements established a primacy of reason and system. [ wikipedia ]


Beginning in the 1890s and with increasing force afterwards, a strand of thinking began to assert that it was necessary to push aside previous norms entirely, and instead of merely revising past knowledge in light of current techniques, it would be necessary to make more thorough changes. The movement in art paralleled such developments as the Theory of Relativity in physics; the increasing integration of internal combustion and industrialization; and the rise of social sciences in public policy. In the first fifteen years of the twentieth century a series of writers, thinkers, and artists made the break with traditional means of organizing literature, painting, and music - again, in parallel to the change in organizational methods in other fields. The argument was that if the nature of reality itself was in question, and the restrictions which, it was felt, had been in place around human activity were falling, then art too, would have to radically change.

As vividly Sigmund Freud offered a view of subjective states that involved a unconscious mind full of primal impulses and counterbalancing restrictions, and Carl Jung would combine Freud's doctrine of the unconscious with a belief in natural essence to stipulate a collective unconscious that was full of basic typologies that the conscious mind fought or embraced. This attacked the idea that people's impulses towards breaking social norms were the product of being childish or ignorant, and were instead essential to the nature of the human animal, and the ideas of Darwin had introduced the idea of "man, the animal" to the public mind.

At the same time, and in nearly the same place as Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche championed a process philosophy, in which processes and forces, specifically the 'will to power', were more important than facts or things. Similarly the writings of Henri Bergson became increasingly influential, who also championed the vital 'life force' over static conceptions of reality. What united all these writers was a romantic distrust of the Victorian positivism and certainty. Instead they championed, or, in case of Freud, attempted to explain, irrational thought processes through the lens of rationality and holism. This was connected with a general search to culminate the century long trend to thinking in terms of holistic ideas, which would include an increased interest in the occult, and "the vital force". [ Chekhov and Modernism ]

Next: part IV. XX century and Beckett
CHEKHOV: "Between Shakespeare and the Absurd" ...

Poetics Take #3 -- texture



Key Terms : ... chronotope, psychological realism, inner monologue, new drama, realism [ dict/glossary ]
* Che'05 : Farces : Theatre UAF
THR UAF 2007 season : No Exit (Sartre)

Chekhov as a master-teacher for playwrighting segment (part 5): "How to Write a Play"? discussion class list posts.

See who's visiting this page. Existential BECOMING (as Being): downfall (compare act I and act IV in his big dramas).

2005-2006 Theatre UAF Season: Four Farces + One Funeral & Godot'06
Film-North : AA