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Five Plays: Ivanov / The Seagull / Uncle Vanya / The Three Sisters / The Cherry Orchard

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  4,770 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Chekhov's worldwide reputation as a dramatist rests on five great plays: Ivanov, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. All are presented in this collection, taken from the authoritative Oxford Chekhov, in Ronald Hingley's acclaimed translation. Hingley has also written an introduction specifically for this volume in which he provides a detailed h ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 9th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1964)
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Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. It seems as though 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 ha
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
"BORKIN [sighing]: Our life-. Man's life is like a bright flower blooming in a meadow. A goat comes along and eats it up. No more flower."

That is to say, it is all meaningless.

"Ivanov" is quite a mixture of sour humor and misery for all.


"The Seagull" touches existential questioning and crisis - not only the meaning of life but of life as an artist.

Again it is all pretty banal and meaningless in-between moments of self evaluation (or lack thereof).


A wasted life preoccupies “Uncle Vanya”. It
İş Bankası, Çehov'un tüm uzun oyunlarını Ataol Behramoğlu çevirisi ile bir araya getirerek o kadar şahane bir iş yapmış ki! Çehov, çok zevk alarak okuduğum bir yazar, bu kitapta da en sevdiğim olarak adlandırabileceğim iki oyun yer alıyor: Vanya Dayı ve Üç Kız Kardeş. Bu oyunlar haricinde kitaptaki oyunlar şunlar: Ivanov, Orman Cini, Martı ve Vişne Bahçesi.

Okuyanlara ya da okuyacaklara hemen belirteyim, Orman Cini, Vanya Dayı'nın taslağı olarak nitelendirilebilir. Oyun beğenilmeyince Çehov kara
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it

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
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-read
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
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 19th-century
What a fantastic collection of plays! Every one of them was a masterpiece.
I particularly loved the nuanced naturalism of the characters. They were all , of course, intelligently reflective and the women were all substantial and equal to the men in every way. How refreshing! My only misgiving was that I wanted to tell them not to be so defined by their past and that today is a new day.
Wonderful. I am so happy I finally picked this up off my bookshelf. Now to find a theatre company performing o
Apr 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: drama
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.
Alp Turgut
Anton Pavloviç Çehov'un altı büyük oyununu (İvanov, Orman Cini, Vanya Dayı, Martı, Üç Kızkardeş, Vişne Bahçesi) sırasıyla tek bir ciltte barındıran "Büyük Oyunlar", büyük ustanın oyun yazarlığındaki becerisini görmek için tek kelimeyle harika bir toplama. Oyunlarında genellikle taşra yaşamının yok ettiği aydınları konu alan Çehov'un eleştiri odağında ise daima yaşanılan hayat, toplumsal çevren ve taşra yaşamı bulunuyor. Okudukça hayran kaldığınız toplama eserin tek problemi ise usta yazarın oyun ...more
Daniel Klawitter
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the great playwrights of course. My favorite play in this collection is Ivanov. Here are some snippets:

"This life of ours...human life is like a flower gloriously blooming in a meadow: along comes a goat, eats it up---no more flower."

"I am beginning to think that fate has cheated me Doctor. There are a great many people, perhaps no better than I, who are happy without having had to pay for their happiness."

"Scientists have been thinking about this since the world began, but they haven't
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of Chekhov's major and most well-known plays has to be one of my most valued possessions. Each story is unique, each plot has its own theme, the characters could undoubtedly have existed and not just been imagined. Chekhov's plays seem to have a strong effect on me, I could see myself on his characters, I could sympathize with their actions and the setting would have me instantly on board.
I'd love to read more of his work, especially his short stories, for which as well he is hig
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
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.
Dec 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Play after play ending with one or more of the characters going downstage and shooting themselves. Enough, already!
Wayne Lai
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
There is something magical about plays, especially when they are written by Anton Chekhov, one of the greatest dramatists and short story writers. There are a lot of miseries in the stories, experienced by unhappy characters. That's not to say that they are not enjoyable, quite the contrary in fact. It feels... cathartic.

'Ivanov' is plain misery, the main character who seemingly has no redeeming quality, is very easy for reader to relate to, whereas the other character, Eugene Lvov, who is a doc
Beebie May Hutley
I only read The Cherry Orchard from this Penguin Classics book of Anton Chekov plays. I’m attending the Press Night of the play at Nottingham Playhouse on Tuesday 7th November so I thought I ought to read it beforehand.

I’m crap at reading classics.

I just don’t enjoy them….UNLESS I study them, and then I love them. If I’m being completely honest, I found The Cherry Orchard painfully dull. Not a lot seems to happen. The reason I gave it three stars and not one star is because I haven’t yet researc
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think my love for Chekov actually comes from my current state of lolling and malaise of ease.
He just seems to illuminate the true nothingness that perhaps is life.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading all five plays, one after the other, was a bit of a slog. Thoroughly enjoyable, though. Great scenes from Russian country life in another time.
Apparently, it's possible to interpret these plays as "a boisterous romp round the samovar" rather than "unrelieved gloom." (back cover blurb) Since this is my first real experience with anything by Chekhov (aside from reading his short story The Red Violin a few years previously), I will bow to the greater wisdom of that unknown blurbist and assume that there is humour here, somewhere. Maybe if you see them live it's more obvious? Maybe it helps if you're a Russian from the late 1800's? Serious ...more
Jim McMullen
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: grad-school
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
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm glad I read the introduction to this book before reading the plays because otherwise I would have been confused as to which kind of message the author wants to convey in these - rather similar in tone and feel - plays. The frankly refreshing thing is that there IS no message, other than the purely aesthetic value, of course. It's like you're sitting, say, on a bench in a park and you witness these characters interact, and gradually, you become immersed in their lives and their issues, you be ...more
Thurston Hunger
Oct 16, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Evaristus Toby
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ivanov: "No, Doctor, we all have too many wheels, screws, and valves to judge each other on first impressions or one or two pointers. I don't understand you, you don't understand me and we don't understand ourselves..."

The Seagull(1): "Out of the mediocre scenes and lines they try to drag a moral, some commonplace that doesn't tax the brain and might come in useful about the house."

The Seagull(2): "The thing is to write without thinking about technique - write from the heart because it all comes
Garrett Zecker
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Пьесы Антона Чехова можно смотреть в театре или на экране, но никак не читать. От внимания ускользает понимание происходящего — оно теряется за каждодневной рутиной. Представленные автором герои в тексте не имеют ярких отличительных черт, они не воспринимаются живыми действующими лицами. Скорее читатель их примет за декорации. совершающие монотонные движения, покуда не придёт пора вставить веское слово в виде определяющей действительность истины, ради которой Чехов и утяжелял пустотой пространст ...more
Jun 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I had often heard of but never read Chekhov until I bought his five plays in one. Not knowing too much about his life or plays, I approached them with an open mind and was quite excited to begin them. I started with Three Sisters, as that one i knew a bit more about previously, and then worked through the others in the order they appear in the volume.
I enjoyed them all, and liked most of the characters. I kind of felt a connection with some of them and wanted them all to do well in life (whethe
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
This re-read made me realize that somehow, I'd managed to skip Ivanov when I initially read this collection 1998. Oops.

It was lovely to revisit Chekhov, who is far funnier than his Serious Reputation would lead one to believe, more cynical than his avuncular philosopher/physician self-inserts suggest, and more sympathetic to his ridiculous, unhappy, stagnant characters than they may deserve. Chekhov's minutely observed specificity of time and place allow for quiet but devastating clashes betwee
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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov 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 recalled, "it all seems quite glo
More about Anton Chekhov...
“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.” 6 likes
More quotes…