Chekhov: The Early Plays

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Smith & Kraus Pub Incorporated, 1999 - Drama - 240 pages
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Discover the early works of the youthful Dr. Chekhov, whose passion for his two warring muses, comedy and tragedy, is nowhere more evident than in his first three-full length plays, Platanov, Ivanov, and The Wood Demon. These works are assembled in this third volume of the complete plays of Anton Chekhov, newly translated by Carol Rocamora and published in honor of Chekhov's centennial. Platonov, Chekhov's earliest, rarely translated play is adapted by Rocamora from its original, six-hour long, unfinished state into a playable comedy about a Russian Don Juan who copes with his boredom and ennui by victimizing every woman in the district. Ivanov, Chekhov's incarnation of the Russian Hamlet, is a marvel of a character study which has challenged actors from John Gielgud to Ralph Fiennes to Kevin Kline. And finally, The Wood Demon, Chekhov's earlier, comedic version of his masterpiece, Uncle Vanya. Actors, directors and lovers of Chekhov's plays will delight in discovering many of the settings, characters, and themes that later appear in his four major works. Theatres will find three exciting full-length plays infrequently performed in the United States which merit renewed attention.

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Chekhov: the early plays

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With this latest entry in the publisher's "Great Translations" series, esteemed director and Russian scholar Rocamora completes her translation of the Chekhov canon. Following Chekhov: Four Plays and ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in the provincial town of Taganrog, Ukraine, in 1860. In the mid-1880s, Chekhov became a physician, and shortly thereafter he began to write short stories. Chekhov started writing plays a few years later, mainly short comic sketches he called vaudvilles. The first collection of his humorous writings, Motley Stories, appeared in 1886, and his first play, Ivanov, was produced in Moscow the next year. In 1896, the Alexandrinsky Theater in St. Petersburg performed his first full- length drama, The Seagull. Some of Chekhov's most successful plays include The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya, and Three Sisters. Chekhov brought believable but complex personalizations to his characters, while exploring the conflict between the landed gentry and the oppressed peasant classes. Chekhov voiced a need for serious, even revolutionary, action, and the social stresses he described prefigured the Communist Revolution in Russia by twenty years. He is considered one of Russia's greatest playwrights. Chekhov contracted tuberculosis in 1884, and was certain he would die an early death. In 1901, he married Olga Knipper, an actress who had played leading roles in several of his plays. Chekhov died in 1904, spending his final years in Yalta.

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