Synopses & Reviews
Chekhov's lyrical plays and uproarious farces continue to entertain theatergoers nearly a century after he wrote them. From his early work The Seagull a depiction of estranged love and thwarted passion that became a great success Stanislavsky's Moscow Art Theater to his last, The Cherry Orchard the poignant portrayal of a land-owning family unable to adapt to a changing society all his plays masterfully combine both levity and pathos. But his comedic genius comes to fruition most fully in his short entertainments, such as the hilarious courtship between a hypochondriac and a shrew depicted in The Proposal. Putting a "slice of life" on stage, Chekhov's dramatic art evokes the painful loneliness of the human condition, yet unfailingly highlights the pretensions and absurdities that make us laugh at ourselves.
"Chekhov, speaking simply and never otherwise than as an artist and a humane man, shows us in fullness and plenitude the mystery of our lives." Eudora Welty
Chekhov's plays are both widely read as literature and constantly performed, giving them unsurpassed ubiquity. Gathered here in a superb new translation by one of the best, and best-known, contemporary translators are Chekhov's four masterpieces: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard.
Because Chekhovs plays convey the universally recognizable, sometimes comic, sometimes dramatic, frustrations of decent people trying to make sense of their lives, they remain as fresh and vigorous as when they were written a century ago. Gathered here in superb new renderings by one of the most highly regarded translators of our time—versions that have been staged throughout the United States, Canada, and Great Britain—are Chekhovs four essential masterpieces for the theater.
About the Author
Chekhov was a playwright and master of the short story. He studied medicine at Moscow, and began to write while a student. His first book of stories in 1886 was successful, and gradually adopted writing as a profession.
Michael Henry Heim is professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. His previous translations include Anton Chekhov's Life and Thought: Selected Letters and Commentary (with Simon Karlinsky); The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera; and My Century, by Günter Grass. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Michael Henry Heim
An Actors Guide to Russian Names and their Pronunciation
The Cherry Orchard