Plays: Ivanov; The Seagull; Uncle Vanya; Three Sisters; The Cherryorchard
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Plays: Ivanov; The Seagull; Uncle Vanya; Three Sisters; The Cherryorchard

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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  3,224 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Anton Chekhov wrote that "narrative is my legal wife and drama a flamboyant, rowdy, impudent, exhausting mistress." At a time when the Russian stage was dominated by farces, formulaic melodramas, and vaudevilles, Chekhov created plays that focused on characters grappling with moral questions. His works baffled his audiences, but his sensitive explorations of love, loss, an...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published September 3rd 2002 by Penguin Books
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Zanna
Reading, as opposed to seeing Chekhov is quite a strange experience because of his impressionistic technique - nothing is explained, everything is surface, the opposite of the great classic novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky which are all psychology. There are motifs, as in poetry, which emerge or sink into the narrative. The dialogue is so ambiguous, so flexible, that the variety of interpretations that theatre companies can bring to the plays seems to be endless, judging from Anatoly Smeliansky'...more
Lavinia
Livada de visini ****
* Mi s-a parut cea mai sensibila, poate pentru ca sentimentul pierderii e aici foarte evident si puternic: livada de visini e vinduta in cele din urma si intreaga familie e privata de locul cel mai drag lor, pierderea livezii putind echivala cu pierderea sperantelor, desi in final Trofimov exclama: “Viata noua, te salutam!” Sau poate, intr-un ton mult mai mundan, pierderea livezii echivaleaza cu noua ordine sociala ce se instala in Rusia vremii respective.


Trei surori ****
* O...more
Steve
I'm ok with these, but I muc prefer Chekhov as a short story writer. His plays are so delicate, that you just know you're losing something due to the translations.
Corinne

This book consists of five different plays. As I read each one, I just wrote down my thoughts:

Ivanov: a disillusioned landowner is fed up with his life. Really, he just over-thinks everything and has given up on trying to be happy. There is a lot of fussing over Ivanov and his choices - ever since his marriage to a "Jewess" who gave up her family and religion to be with him, he's gone emotionally downhill. There is a lot of men crying in this play and if I had to give it a theme or a point, I th...more
kat
Ivanov
I was young, full of fire, sincere, no fool; I loved, I hated and I believed, but not like other men, I worked and I had hopes for ten, I tilted at windmills and beat my head against walls.... And tell me: could it have been otherwise? There are so few of us, and so much, so much to do! God, how much to do! And now the life against which I struggled is taking this cruel vengeance on me! I've worn myself out! ... Before you stands a man of thirty-five, disillusioned and crushed by his worth
...more
Vanja Antonijevic
There is something special about Chekhov. I would have to admit that Dostoevsky and Tolstoy may be greater writers than he is, but it seems that no writer has been able to produce a certain Russian spirit, tone, and sentiment as well as Chekhov in his writings. To put it simply, his plays and short stories have more "soul" and "heart" to them than anything else I have read. The Russian Shakepeare is my second favorite Russian author (after Dostoevsky), and is an underappreciated genius in his ow...more
Ali
I cannot rationally explain my obsession with this man and his plays. His life is a fascination in and of itself, but his plays are full of real characters, with blood in their veins and mortality on their minds. They are confused, brittle, funny and frank. I cannot help but love them.
Camille
I love reading Chekhov's short stories. I love reading plays. I should love reading Chekhov's plays, right? Apparently not. These completely failed to interest me. I actually fell asleep several times while trying to get through this book. I'll stick with the short stories.
Freder
Play after play ending with one or more of the characters going downstage and shooting themselves. Enough, already!
Jan-Maat
I don't think that this translation is the one that I was familiar with and can't recommened one translation in particular.

Chekhov has a had a strange fate in English in that his plays - judging by revivals of Ivanov - seem to be more valued than his short stories. Chekhov's plays have tapped into a particular British nostalgia which doesn't help us to understand them in their own context. Chekhov wasn't a solidly middle-class Edwardian Englishman reflecting on a world that had vanished after WW...more
Maureen
This is my second attempt at tackling a Chekhov play in the last few months. If I had to rate it (which, I guess is what I'm doing here, after all,) I'd say it's more entertaining than the last one I read (The Three Sisters) and less entertaining than watching fish swim in an aquarium, especially if you're not an avid aquarium enthusiast.

The plot of The Cherry Orchard was more palatable; a once-wealthy Russian landowner as a problem spending money and confronting her problems. When her beloved...more
Thurston Hunger
There's a lot of misery in these comedies? And quite an odd mix of affirmation and nihilism. Not quite a recipe, but include at least one babbling fool, and one case of unwanted affection. Upper crust going stale, a world ending, and yet things not really changing in big arc?

Translation of the plays in this book is by Ann Dunnigan. I have no idea if they are spot on or not. I'll have so see some performances of these to see how they affect me in presentation, I recall having seen "Vanya on 47th...more
Garrett Zecker
Several plays that are screaming indictments for change in my opinion. I picked these back up at an interestingly strange time in American history - wouldn't right now be a wonderful and stark time for someone somewhere to stage a revival of The Cherry Orchard? I mean, it has everything we love about our economy and society - difficulty of expression of feelings, a mess in the mortgage holdings of a family, and all this coming from a family and society where those with money seemingly think they...more
Brenda
Jul 26, 2008 Brenda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Theatre folk - anyone, really
Three young orphaned women and their brother live in the boonies of Russia, desparately hoping to return to their childhood home of Moscow. As the years go by, the women's fortunes fall, their lives become lonelier and they get no closer to their dearest dream.

I've read this 3 or 4 times and I keep seeing more and more of the humour of this piece. It's a sad, dark, somewhat depressing humour to be sure, but it's there. The women slowly become more deeply trapped in their habits and beliefs, and...more
Michael
Just read The Cherry Orchard, which was interesting but not something I would put on the top of my list.
Anne
Judging from these 5 plays, Chekhov had some bizarre fixations. Doctors, for one, appear in almost every play. As does infidelity. Climactic ending gun deaths (two suicides, one in a duel). Longsuffering innocent young women and the creepy old guys who love them. Any one of these plays on their own would, I imagine, be less ridiculous (and much better) than the five as a group. As it is, I found myself bored and apathetic by the end. There were cool moments here and there but my main takeaway is...more
Rea Bailey
Chekhov is the best! I love these plays, especially seagull and uncle vanya!
Benjamin Wallsten
Amazing! Stupendous! Russian literature at its finest!

I am always left wanting more from Chekhov (too bad his life was cut short by a disease we, ironically, can prevent today - it's oddly reminiscent of what one of the characters in Chekhov's "The Three Sisters" - Vershinin - is constantly saying about the future being better than the present). This volume simply enlarges that desire.

If you love Chekhov, you must read this book. It gives you the 5 major plays that made Anton Chekhov into the fa...more
Amanda
I'm familiar with Russian literature's tendency to be humorously tragic. I didn't expect any more (or less) from Chekhov and wasn't disappointed. However, compared to his short stories, the plays in this book were somewhat lacking. They didn't have the blunt edge of wit that I loved about stories like Sleepy or Death of a Government Clerk. While critics can find humor in the Cherry Orchard, for me it's just not the same. It's still well-written (though the English doesn't come off as smoothly),...more
Katie
My only complaint is that I can't keep all the name variations and diminutives straight on the page. This is why I love to see Chekhov performed. The characters get embodied by actors, and you don't have to keep mental files on each one. That said, it's Chekhov. It's wonderful. Every page has little tidepools of human rumination that are beautiful even if you can't figure out if they belong to that woman, her mother, her aunt, her lover, or her mother's lover.
Sarah
Chekhov is one of the few playwrights that I like to read, which is to say, I like it just well on paper as on stage - maybe more. Possibly because most stage productions don't get it quite right. It's the comedy, Stupid.

I go back and forth on favorites, and they are all so good. But if you held a gun to my head (which would, of course, have to go off by the end of the play), I guess I'd have to say The Cherry Orchard. So funny, so sad, so maddening. So funny.
Cassandra Kay Silva
These plays are so carefully measured in tone and rhetoric that I think it would be impossible to determine what they would be like without actually seeing them preformed on stage. I also imagine that a great deal of the nuance of the work would depend heavily on the actors chosen. I chose more eccentric actors for my own mind while reading this work and found that enjoyable. This could also be terribly boring given the wrong cast.
Chelsea
This is a collection of plays by the playwright, Anton Chekhov. These plays were just not really 'my cup of tea.' They had some really good scenes, but for the most part they were a little too close to 'real life.' By that I mean a 'boring, go to work, go home, go to sleep' life. There were not many scenes that caught and held my interest; however, Chekhov created very believable characters and they were very life-like.
Griffin
Aug 15, 2007 Griffin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russian literature nerds
I read these plays to try understnand what rural Russia must be like: cold, depressing, nothing happens (but at the same time everything happens). There's a general feeling of working for future generations. I got the feeling a lot of the soliloquies were just ideas that Chekhov had about life and the future. I liked the plays a lot, but be prepared to depressed, all the moreso that you think about the themes of the plays.
Toni
Ivanov:
The Sea Gull: 5/5
Uncle Vanya: 4/5
The Three Sisters: 2/5
The Cherry Orchard:
Emylie
Feb 19, 2014 Emylie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
started Ivanov…will resume in summer holidays (Feb 2014)
Benjamin Plume
Fantastic. I am not one who generally likes to read plays (preferring to read novels and watch plays) but Chekhov is an, possibly the, exception. Each of the five plays had a unique feature that grabbed me, and this volume features some lines that instantly became favorites. If you are someone who loves plays, this is a must. If not, you might want to give it a shot anyway.
Jesse
Awesome...My love for Chekhov is quickly growing. All of these plays were really very good (as far as my limited knowledge of the art goes)...at least I found them entertaining. I can't pick a favorite because each one had its own merrit.

They all had something dark within them, and they all had some aspect of love as well. A great display of the human condition.
Stacie
I read "The Three Sisters" some time ago and remember really liking it.

I just read "The Cherry Orchard" and while I was amazed at the emotion found in so few pages, I was definitely left wanting more...more of the story, more of the characters...just more.

I will probably one day read the other three as well, but I am still marking this as read, so there.
Marisela
I feel so guilty for only giving it two stars, wish I could give them 2 1/2. Perhaps I'm meant to experience these plays performed instead of reading them. I truly expected myself to love these plays, especially since I love Russian literature. And I'm usually able to get a sense of a play just by reading it...but I'll have to come back to them later.
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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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“NINA: ...what's important is...the ability to endure. To be able to bear one's cross and have faith. I have faith, and it's not so painful now, and when I think of my vocation, I'm not afraid of life.” 5 likes
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