The Seagull, 1895, is the first of his four major plays. The four main characters, guests on a tranquil estate in the Russian countryside, are Nina, a beautiful young actress who can't act; Konstantin, a talentless playwright, and his mother Irina Arkadina, a fading theatrical diva; finally, there is successful writer of middling books, Boris Trigorin. Konstantin shoots a seagull and, much to her horror and disgust, gives it to Nina as the set-up becomes a recipe for romantic and artistic fallings-out, compounded when they all meet up a second time. Although Chekhov called this a comedy, there's nothing cheerful here. By always snatching at love and success, his characters block out happiness; the author is satirizing human foibles which we soon recognize in ourselves. When the play was first performed, it was booed off stage. In 1898, after the production by Stanislavski that marked the birth of modern theatre, it became a major triumph and Chekhov took his place in history.
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was a Russian doctor, short-story writer, and playwright. Born in the port city of Taganrog, Chekhov was the third child of Pavel, a grocer and devout Christian, and Yevgeniya, a natural storyteller. His father, a violent and arrogant man, abused his wife and children and would serve as the inspiration for many of the writer's most tyrannical and hypocritical characters. Chekhov studied at the Greek School in Taganrog, where he learned Ancient Greek. In 1876, his father's debts forced the family to relocate to Moscow, where they lived in poverty while Anton remained in Taganrog to settle their finances and finish his studies.
Pub Date: 2020
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 inches