215 * Bedford + groups.yahoo.com/group/dramlit must subscribe, if in class!
New Drama : "While a family eats dinner," Chekhov observed, "their lives are collapsing."
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mini-chekhov 2005: Meyerhold staged Chekhov's one-acts during the NEP (New Economic Policy, partial restoration of capitalism after the Military Communism of the Civil War); the money came back to be valued by the "new rich" (simular to today's Russia). Anton Chekhov modelled his farces on French Vaudevilles, entertainment of bourgeoisie. The Midlle Class of Russia at the end of the 19 century immitated everything "French".

... American Middle Class -- money (all four pieces with "MONEY issue"). "Wedding with a General" -- "celebrity cult" is living with the "stars"! Hypocracy, pretending what you are not, especially, for YOUSELF.
* vaude·ville -- a light often comic theatrical piece frequently combining pantomime, dialogue, dancing, and song.
* bourgeoisie -- MIDDLE CLASS. Hello?

The same fate had befallen The Cherry Orchard, a play that was planned to be a farce (as reflected in Chekhov’s letters to his wife, Olga Knipper). In 1901, he wrote to her: “The next play that I am going to write will definitely be funny, at least by its concept” (Sochineniia 13: 478) (112-113)
From the book A Concept of Dramatic Genre and the Comedy of a New Type by V. Ulea (2002)

Looking back from Beckett: existentialism.

"Slow Reading": four acts, four points. The changes.
Character Evolution (do the change?)

THR215 DramLit
* The Compact Bedford Intro to Drama (textbook) *

"Comedy of Errors" in Chekhov's Farces *

"Comedic Character" in "Orchard" (comedy of character instead of "situation comedy"). Chekov for the Stage: The Seagull/Uncle Vanya/The Three Sisters/ The Cherry Orchard (Paperback) 0810110482

Chekhov's comedies are often mistaken for tragidies. They are actually perfect examples of high comedy.

Social Issues = Theatre of Anton Chekhov: Research, Analysis, Performance: A Closer Look at this Little Man...
2004 Theatre UAF

4 FAMILES: Chekhov was displeased and dissatisfied with Stanislavsky’s way of staging his plays as dramas. He insisted that he created pure comedies. In fact, he subtitled The Seagull as comedy, he insisted that his Three Sisters were written as a vaudeville, and his Cherry Orchard was defined as farce.

SHOWS: 12th Night
* Transition from Shakespeare to Chekhov:

1. Forms (New Drama, New Theatre)

2. Meanings (new Themes, Ideas, Feelings)

Chekhov, Method Acting and Cinema = Film Acting: Eisenstein vs. Pudovkin (two original concepts) *

Cherry Orchard (text of the play with my notes and some links) *

Notes on Cherry Orchard Georgtown U.

Quiz [gradesaver]

Russian History and USA (Slavery):

"By the end of the play, most audiences would find it hard to resist Trofimov's diagnosis at the end of Act II that the institution of serfdom, the owning of living souls, “has caused degeneration in us all”. Masters and servants alike have been corrupted by serf-owning and some of the most satirical moments in the play expose the extent of that corruption. But the audience is not forced to take sides, the judgement is less important than the recognition of the evenhandedness and objectivity of the diagnosis. Chekhov once suggested that had he had a hand in the training of young doctors then he would have insisted that before proceeding to diagnosis they should first make their patients laugh. The diagnosis in The Cherry Orchard is a social one and it includes the audience within the diagnosis." *

"Show about Nothing"? [act of waiting and non-events]

CH. Orchard & 1905 ***

The Cherry Orchard - STUDENT EDITION with Notes & Commentary

~ Anton Chekhov adapted Michael Frayn - 041369500X

In Chekhov's tragi-comedy - perhaps his most popular play - the Gayev family is torn by powerful forces deeply rooted in history and the society in which they live

Their estate is hopelessly in debt and when urged to cut down their beautiful cherry orchard and sell the land for holiday cottages, they are confronted by an impossible decision

"At the time when The Cherry Orchard was written, the years before the revolution of 1905, Chekhov considered revolution in Russia irreversible and desirable" ~ Melchinger - Anton Chekhov

This Student Edition contains a chronology of the playwright's life and work, an introduction giving the background to the play; a discussion of the various interpretations; notes on individual words and phrases and photographs from stage productions

"Frayn's translation, which strikes me as splendidly lucid and alive ... will be acted again and again" ~ New Statesman

... Subtext [samples] reading in class : Ms. Julie, finale [after Kristine exits]

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 *
Nora and Julie : Ibsen and Strindberg

Oscar (Wilde) and mini-chekhov?

Realism ? Existentialism ?

... CO : cherry orchard page


"Cherry Orchard" (The Three Sisters is in THR413)

Playscript Analysis

2005: Chekhov to Beckett ("comedy as tragedy")

Dramatic Literature

Chekhov Yesterday, Today -- and Forever!
I wrote already about the connections between the farces and the big plays (Smelyansky). The Big Chekhov is a closer step to the stock charatcers of the one-acts.

Anton Chekhov and Vaudeville (different from "farce"):

Gottlieb begins her study with a subtly ironic look at how the highly censored, frivolous nature of the Russian theater of the 1880s spawned the revolutionary Moscow Art Theater that would showcase Chekhov's greatest works. Chekhov himself commented in 1888 that, "the contemporary theater is like a rash...it is necessary to sweep away this disease with a broom..." (15). *

Gottlieb describes the vaudeville of the 1880's Russian theater as having at its center "a couple striving towards a happy union, a union finally achieved at the end of the play. Before the finale, however, the couple have to overcome various obstacles to their match, and the action of the play consists solely in overcoming those obstacles" (41).

"In the vaudeville, the convention relates to comedy of situation or intrigue and is rarely given a wider application or deeper significance," Gottlieb observes in a typically studious passage. Citing several examples of Chekhov's straight-ahead application of this technique in his early writings, Gottlieb then uses this device to demonstrate how Chekhov transformed this common comedic schtick into something much larger and poignant. "In Chekhov's last plays, the convention of 'inability to hear' becomes the innovation 'inability to listen', with all the irony that this implies."

Gottlieb, Vera. Chekhov And Vaudeville. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
They say his first play was horrable. But the boy from the southern provincial town loved the horrable theatre they played. He and his brothers, a talentent banch, were ashamed their father and his shop. At the school they were at the bottom of the social strata, and with the tatar cut of the years, the grandsons of the slave. To become a doctor was the best what the man like Anton can hope for.

[ Strindberg, Ibsen, Wilde -- XIX century, should be presented BEFORE Chekhov! What order? ]

Focus : Realism & Comedy "Human Dignity": the "little man" values most the respect (Godfather), the opinion of the Others! He wants to have a "human face" so badly, that he is rediculous...


Contexts: Russian History [Intellectual, more important]

Under the rule of Nicholas I (reigned 1825-1855) Russia became one of the most reactionary, anti-liberal powers in Europe. Russia involved in imperialist, expansionist warfare (e.g. Crimean War 1854-1856).

Alexander II (r. 1855-81) favored liberal reforms such as the Emancipation of the Serfs (1861). Industrialization and annexation of territories in central and eastern Asia. Alexander II assassinated by conservative opponents in 1881.

Trans-Siberian Railroad built 1891-1905

Alexander III (r. 1881–94) and Nicholas II (r. 1894-1917), reactionary, conservative rulers, opposed liberal, democratic reforms and aggravated the discontent that would eventually lead to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

World War I (1914-1918). Imperialist, territorial competition between Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, Great Britain, and Russia led to the outbreak of the war. Russia was one of the instigators of the conflict as it supported the Eastern European (Serbian, Slavic) nationalists that assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in 1914.

Russian Revolution 1917. The suffering of the Russian people during World War I brought discontent against the government to a climax and precipitated a popular revolution involving the army as well as the middle and working classes. Nicholas II overthrown and executed. The Bolshevik communist party led by Lenin took control of the government.



Chekhov & Cherry Orchard Workpack PDF * National Theatre Education UK
Next: part IV. Absurd

"axes against the trees: anton chekhov and the revolution of 1905" http://www.theater2k.com/ChekhovEssay2.html:

"Think, Anya -- your grandfather, your great-grandfather, all your ancestors owned slaves, living souls. Can you hear their voices? Don't you feel human beings looking at you from every tree in the orchard? To have owned human souls has perverted you all -- your ancestors and you who are alive now, so that your mother, your uncle, and even you don't realize it, but you're living in debt, at the expense of those who were your slaves" (Chekhov, 43).

  Web vtheatre.net   
See who's visiting this page. Beckett "Chekhov in Beckett": life as a waiting room, waitng as feeling and thought...


Chekhov - Beckett - Stoppard (dialogue)

Texture or Structure?


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


footer.txt -- new drama : new hero : subtext : Ibsen * Strindberg * Chekhov