Anton Chekhov by Laurence Senelick (auth.) PDF

By Laurence Senelick (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0333308824

ISBN-13: 9780333308820

ISBN-10: 1349179817

ISBN-13: 9781349179817

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His legendary statement that 'on stage people dine, simply dine, and meanwhile their happiness is taking shape or their lives are breaking up' 11 is indeed a telegraphic synopsis of an aesthetic, but it is a symbolist aesthetie: beyond the commonplace surface of existing lurks the reallife of the characters. When Chekhov himself set about to write plays, he was 25 Anton Chekhov tom between creating works that would be successful because of their conformity to accepted norms, and works that avoided the diebes and conventions of the popular stage.

In this respect, he much resembles Gregers Werle in Ibsen's The Wild Duck, who, in his quixotic attempt to strip away illusions, destroys the lives of those around hirn. Chekhov's task was to make sure that Lvov did not seem either an objective spokesman or a fatuous prig. 'Such persons are necessary, and for the most part sympathetic. To draw them as caricatures, even in the interests of the stage is dishonorable and serves no purpose' (to Suvorin, 30 December 1888). Rehearsals for the Petersburg production went badly, despite a strong cast, and Chekhov quarrelIed with the comic actor Vladimir Davydov who played the lead in a monotonous style to indicate seriousness.

Sofiya is hopelessly courted as weil by the young landowner Zheltukhin, whose sister Yuliya has long loved Fyodor Orlovsky from afar, but cannot get hirn to change his wild ways. This lack of reciprocity and sympathy is, for Chekhov, more than a means of complicating the plot; it sounds the thematic note for the unbearable life these people lead. As Yelena says to Voynitsky, 'Everyone's warring against everyone else. ' The situation worsens to the point that Voynitsky shoots 44 Journeyrnan Effor~ himself and Yelena runs away, and it is the task of the fourth act to unravel these misunderstandings and pose a solution.

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Anton Chekhov by Laurence Senelick (auth.)


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