Chekhov: The Essential Plays : The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters & The Cherry Orchard
Because Chekhov's 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 Chekhov's four essential masterpieces for the theater.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from Chekhov: The Essential Plays by Anton Chekhov
Ir na Nikol evna Ark dina (Tr pleva by marriage). An actress.
Konstant n Gavr lovich Tr plev (K stya). Her son, a young man.
Pyotr Nikol evich S rin. Her brother.
N na Mikh ilovna Zar chnaya. A young girl, the daughter of a rich landowner.
Ily Afan syevich Shamr ev. A retired lieutenant, the manager of Sorin s estate.
Pol na Andr evna. His wife.
Mar a Ily nichna (M sha). His daughter.
Bor s Alex evich Trig rin. A writer.
Yevg ny Serg evich Dorn. A doctor.
Semy n Serg evich Medved nko. A schoolmaster.
Y kov. A workman.
A Male Cook.
The action takes place on Sorin s estate. Two years pass between Acts Three and Four.
The grounds of Sorin s estate. A broad tree-lined path leading away from the audience to a lake is cut off by a makeshift stage for an amateur performance. The lake is hidden from view. Bushes to the left and right of the stage. Several chairs, a small table.
The sun has just set. On the stage behind a lowered curtain Yakov and other Workmen are heard coughing and hammering. Enter Masha and Medvedenko, left, on their way back from a walk.
Medvedenko. Why is it you always wear black
Masha. I m in mourning for my life. I m unhappy.
Medvedenko. But why (Thinking hard.) I can t understand it . . . You re healthy. Your father may not be rich, but he has a comfortable life. My life s much harder than yours I make only twenty-three rubles a month minus pension-fund deductions and I don t wear mourning. (They sit down.)
Masha. Money doesn t matter. Even a pauper can be happy.
Medvedenko. In theory perhaps, but not in practice. I ve got myself, my mother, my two sisters, and my little brother to support and all on twenty-three rubles. We need to eat and drink, don t we We need tea and sugar. We need tobacco. Just try and make ends meet.