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Four Great Plays By Ch...
 
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Anton Chekhov
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Four Great Plays By Chekhov: Sea Gull Cherry Orchard 3 Sisters Uncle Vanya

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  1,018 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Four Great Plays by Chekhov in one book.
The Sea Gull
The Cherry Orchard
Three Sisters
Uncle Vanya
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Published (first published January 1st 1966)
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Jan-Maat
This edition has a good, thorough, introduction as well as a very useful note on the translation. As Frayn puts it in the note on the translation knowing Russian and being a playwright is an advantage in translating Chekhov's plays, and who would have thought that - an amazing idea.

Reading the plays for the first time in many years the irony comes through very strongly, but maybe that's just one of the strengths of this translation which, in British English at least, comes across as easy and nat...more
Pedro
If modern theatre is considered an intellectual pastime not fit for the consumption of the casual viewer, then Tchékhov's plays strike at the heart of drama's subtetlies. And rightly so for the plays, filled with undersayings, carve a complex structure out of the amalgam of thoughts and feelings that litter the human psyche.
It would be unfair, though, to describe the pieces as an unintelligible rant. In fact, the plots and characters are robust and strongly developed and despite the apparent may...more
Diana Polansky
Chekhov is a master.

Carol Rocamora rocks. I had her as a professor twice. She is so extraordinarily passionate about Russian literature that she seemed to become 30-40 years younger while teaching...and when she talked about Checkhov's dacha, I was able to "see" it.

The only thing I don't like about this translation is that though Carol retains Chekhov's poetry, her translation is a little too "American colloquial" at times. If I spoke Russian, I could explain this in detail, but as my only claim...more
matt

These plays move me in a way which I can't describe. Or, rather, I probably could but it would be endless and personal and boring.

I think this is modern suburbia in embryo; it is also, of course, seeped in "The Russian Character."

I love Dostoevsky and Tolstoy with a deep passion but there's really no one quite like Chekhov. For that thin tissue of humanity billowing in the wind over the void "thing" he's the one you want.

How much life do we lose, in living? How much have we lost already?

ps
Louie...more
John
I had an audition for 'Cherry Orchard' so I thought I would read all four major plays to check off Chekhov from my list.
I liked these a lot better than I thought I would, but this is partly because I had tried to read them before in a different translation and just couldn't maintain interest. These are pretty new translations by Carol Rocamora and they read pretty well. I felt like I could understand what was happening a little better, and the humor came out more. I think I like 'Uncle Vanya' t...more
Mary
I only read "The Seagull" this time around. Have read "The Cherry Orchard" and "Uncle Vanya" previously. Will have to get to "Three Sisters" another day.

One thing I liked was that this was an up-to-date American translation. No musty period pieces here. This helped bring out the farcial aspects of the play. After all, Chekhov himself called it "A Comedy in Four Acts." Plus, "The Seagull" contains (part of) a play within the play, which is very easy to mock.

Overall, not as strong as his later wor...more
Vicki
I've lived with these plays since college, and revisit them through live theater or film. Just watched The Sea Gull directed by Sidney Lumet, with Vanessa Redgrave, James Mason, David Warner - extraordinary! Vanya on 42nd Street with Wallace Shawn and Julianne Moore is a brilliant take on Uncle Vanya. Sheer genius, I never tire of the insights and perfect use of language in these plays.
Eric
It's good to read a book that is more than simple entertainment. These plays are filled with humor (albeit dry, Russian humor) and poverty and social struggles.
I used Sparknotes to get others' ideas regarding Seagull. I tried to just breeze through Three Sisters, but didn't get into it at all. I decided to take notes on the characters in Cherry Orchard and read Sparknotes for themes, etc. The extra work on Cherry Orchard paid off. Yesterday, I met with some city officials regarding a property in...more
Artemisia
Il gabbiano
TRIGORIN: (fra sé) Se un giorno avrai bisogno della mia vita, vieni e prendila.

Zio Vanja
SONJA: Zio Vanja, vivremo. Vivremo una lunga, lunga fila di giorni, di lente serate: sopporteremo pazientemente le prove che il destino ci manderà; lavoreremo per gli altri. [...] Riposeremo. Sentiremo gli angeli, vedremo il cielo che sfolgorerà di diamanti, vedremo tutto il male della terra e tutte le nostre sofferenze annegare nella misericordia che inonderà il mondo...e la nostra vita diventerà...more
Eliza Malakoff
Quotation:

"I love him (Trigorin)! I love him even more than before...A subject for a short story...I love him, I love him passionately, I love him to despair. It was nice in old days, Kostya! Do you remember? How clear, warm, joyous and pure life was, what feelings we had - feelings like tender, exquisite flowers...Do you remember?"

This is a beautiful piece of dialogue that captures how damaged Nina is. She loves Trigorin and wishes for a time when she did not, when she was younger and more naiv...more
Allison
So I didn't read this exact book, it was actually a really old copy of just his four greatest plays (trivia: can you name them?) Obviously the Cherry Orchard (I know you got that, Ms. Daniels), and The Sea Gull, Uncle Vanya, and 3 Sisters. What I really liked what that Checkov gives you a brief glance into realistic human behavior, and at different points in the drama, one character or another will step back and say, "What is life all about anyway? Why are we living this way? Can't we change any...more
Ashley
I'm ashamed to say that I had never read any Chekhov before this year. I decided that as an aspiring playwright, I had better get around to doing so. I loved these plays, especially "Uncle Vanya" and "The Cherry Orchard." The threat of foreclosure and ruin that hovers over the formerly affluent characters in these two plays was reminiscent of our current moment in history. The dialogue is beautiful to read. . . I now want to see more Chekhov plays actually in production. I didn't love the produc...more
Ayne Ray
The best works of the Russian playwright who was also an acclaimed short story writer. Interestingly, although he gained great fame from his plays, he was at odds with director Constantine Stanislavsky (most well-known for the acting style that famously became known as "The Method," a realistic approach in which actors attempt to use their own emotions in portraying their characters); Chekhov considered the plays comedies, while Stanislavsky's productions tended to emphasize their tragic element...more
Joshua
Though some have complained about Curt Columbus' new "American translations" of these iconic plays, I found that they maintained all of the baroque edifice that characterizes Chekhov's dramas, but transposed it into a more immediately relatable medium (think Wes Anderson rather than Jane Austen). By taking seriously the task of translating "for the stage," Columbus' versions read well aloud and maintain some of Chekhov's vibrancy in the original Russian texts without sacrificing the content.
Paul Jellinek
OK, I confess--I just don't get it. These are good plays, sure, but I simply don't understand the veneration with which everyone from Wallace Shawn to George Kennan regards these plays. Maybe it's the translation, or maybe I don't have the necessary Russian sensibility. This is probably the third or fourth time that I've read Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard (I'd read the others once before), still hoping for the light to come on--but so far it hasn't. Maybe next time?
Keiko
Le opere del teatro di Cechov in un'antologia che è la più fedele nella traduzione delle opere russe. Il teatro di Cechov racconta del quotidiano, non offre sensazionalismi. Attraverso un'opera attenta alla quotidianità concede una ricca documentazione della società dell'epoca, passando attraverso la borghesia russa e trafiggendola con il suo "Il Gabbiano", l'opera più fallimentare dell'autore.
Anna
The Cherry Orchard was one of the first plays I ever read. It was a hot summer, I was 12 and "babysitting" my 7-year old cousin and I'd gone through my uncle's library. Plays had always struck me as something to be seen on stage and not read.
"Go on, read it" he said. I picked it up and loved it so much I had to read the other plays as well. That one play opened up a whole new world for me...
Melanie
I don't know why, but something about Chekhov's style as a playwright has never sat well with me, regardless of who the translator is. His short stories are fine, but after "The Sea Gull" and "The Cherry Orchard," I'm pretty sure that there's something wrong with both Chekhov and I, and we're better off going our separate ways.
Esmeralda Plangesis
I have seen the Seagull, Uncle Vanya and the Cherry Orchard on stage apart from reading some of them in translation of course. Intend re-reading the latter since its being staged presently and perhaps study it a little closer from a theatrical perspective. Will definitely read the Three Sisters from beginning to end this time round.
Deirdre Keating
To be honest, I haven't read all 4, but thanks to the OSF in Ashland, I have seen all of them performed (which is actually better, in my opinion, especially with Chekhov).

Uncle Vanya has been my least favorite. Three Sisters I adored. Don't know if it was the productions or not. Looking forward to renting Uncle Vanya on 42nd Street.
Minna
Jokaisessa näytelmässä henkilöt ovat enimmäkseen tyytymättömiä elämäänsä ja rakastuneet ristiin vääriin ihmisiin. Hyvin ei käy juuri kellekään. Näitä lukiessa pitää olla hereillä, jotta pysyy kärryillä lukuisista henkilöistä, kuka sanoo mitäkin. Olisi ehkä toiminut paremmin yksitellen luettuna. Nyt tuli kerralla yliannostus.
Simona Bartolotta
Testi davvero bellissimi, con qualche eccezione che tuttavia non è mai del tutto da scartare. Mi piacerebbe vederne rappresentato a teatro almeno qualcuno, forse Ivanov, dal momento che è anche quello che mi è piaciuto di più. Tra gli atti unici spicca invece L'orso: l'ho trovato davvero delizioso.
Cindy Munoz
I liked the plays that make up the book; "The Seagull" and "Uncle Vanya" are my favorite Chekhov plays. The updated American translation is fine, but it did throw me off a little bit. The translation, at times, was a little too Americanized. However, I'm sure it will help some understand the plays better.
Susannah
If you're reading Chekhov, this is the translation you want. Rocomora's sensibility and understanding is unsurpassed (it's in the little things - the nuances that are where Chekhov's humor and wit sneaks in without you knowing). I'm beyond jealous of the reviewer who had her as a professor.
Emily
I absolutely love Chekov. I love his style of writing which draws attention to both what he says, but perhaps more poignantly to what he isn't overtly saying. Simple, clear writing and makes you mull over the ideas and characters for quite some time. These plays are lovely.
Brent
Almost all of his characters are educated, cultured aristocrats who lack the will to finish their own stories and just peter out. It so poignantly portrays the twilight years of imperial Russia before the U.S.S.R.
Ms Piot
I remember reading Three Sisters and Cherry Orchard and being very drawn in and absorbed,and...moved, I believe it was.. but that's all I can recall. WOuld like to re-read since it left such an impression....
Karen
Jul 14, 2013 Karen marked it as reading-off-on  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read these in a long time - if ever - and must admit that I'm doing so now because I want to get the most out of "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" when I see it on Broadway :-)
Angela
I must admitt I am profoundly in love with the russians..Cehov's world is so sensitive, romantic, painfull, his heroes are sometimes so miserable and their dreams unfullfilled...A magnificent writer!
Claudia
I'm not a big Chekhov fan. *gasp* I know, I know. I've sat through many lectures, plays, all of it, and I feel as hopeless as the rest of the characters. Maybe that's the point.
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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Russian: Антон Павлович Чехов) was born in the small seaport of Taganrog, southern Russia, the son of a grocer. Chekhov's grandfather was a serf, who had bought his own freedom and that of his three sons in 1841. He also taught himself to read and write. Yevgenia Morozova, Chekhov's mother, was the daughter of a cloth merchant.

"When I think back on my childhood," Chekhov r...more
More about Anton Chekhov...
Selected Stories The Cherry Orchard The Seagull The Complete Short Novels Uncle Vanya

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