Chekhov: The Major Plays
"Let the things that happen on stage be just as complex and yet just as simple as they are in life. For instance, people are having a meal, just having a meal, but at the same time their happiness is being created, or their lives are being smashed up. " Thus Chekhov summed up the credo that finds expression in the subtle construction and electrically charged atmoshpere of his plays. In these portrayals of human beings trapped in a stultifying environment, victimized as much by their own weakness as by the greed of others, the most casual words and everday actions assume the import of acts of destiny. Tragedy is mingled with farce, protest wars with resignation, in a world that yields from its darkest despair a singular moral affirmation - an affirmation that stands as the final mark and measure of Chekhov's art. As Robert Brustein declares in the foreword to this edition: "...in the modern theater...there are none who bring the drama to a higher realization of its human role. "
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