Ivanov: A Play in Four Acts

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Methuen Drama, 1997 - English drama - 89 pages
This adaptation by David Hare premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London in 1997 starring Ralph Fiennes



This is a drama of a Russian landowner's half-farcical, half serious personal crisis as he plummets fast into domestic and philosophical chaos. The central scene concerns a debate between the landowner and the young doctor about honesty. The latter thinks that honesty is to do with blurting out offensive truths, whilst the former insists that no-one can acquire honesty unless they have the self knowledge to examine their own motives. By turns despairing and passionate, this play offers an insight into a robust young writer, exploring themes that were to interest him in his later plays.



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User Review  - smichaelwilson - www.librarything.com

A convoluted morality play in which the main character spends all of his time either complaining how sad he is or arguing about how bad of a person he either is or isn't. There is some excellent ... Read full review

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User Review  - lizpatanders - LibraryThing

It can be easy to get frustrated with the characters in this play, but it's interesting to sit down and analyze them. Read full review

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About the author (1997)

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.

The son of Clifford and Agnes Gilmour Hare, David Hare was born on June 5, 1947, in St. Leonards, England. After graduating from Jesus College in Cambridge in 1968 with the honors Master of Arts degree in English, Hare went to work for the film company A.B. Pathe. Soon after, Hare co-founded the Portable Theatre Company, a touring experimental theatre group. While serving as the theatre's director from 1968 to 1971, Hare wrote his first plays. In 1970, Hare won the Evening Standard Drama Award for most promising new playwright for Slag, his first major play. Two years later, after Portable Theatre declared bankruptcy, Hare became resident dramatist at Nottingham Playhouse. Hare also co-founded the Joint Stock Theatre Group and served as its director from 1975 to 1980. During these years Hare produced many more plays, including The Great Exhibition, Brassneck, and Knuckle, the first of Hare's plays to be produced in London's West End. In addition to directing his own plays, Hare has directed such works as The Party by Trevor Griffiths, Devil's Island by Tony Bicat, and King Lear, with Anthony Hopkins in the title role. In 1982, Hare opened his own film company, Greenpoint Films. Among the screenplays written by Hare are Plenty, Paris by Night, and Wetherby, a story about repressed passions among members of the middle class.

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