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The Three Sisters / The Cherry Orchard by…
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The Three Sisters / The Cherry Orchard

by Anton Chekhov, Lajos Szalay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Two of Chekhov's best known plays. Like much Russian literature, without an understanding of the culture and possibly the language, it is hard to appreciate them as much as they deserve. ( )
  stpnwlf | Jul 16, 2007 |
The Three Sisters is a play, written in 1900 and first produced in 1901, by Russian author Anton Chekhov, who wrote three other major plays.
Characters
* Andrei Sergeiyevitch Prosorov
* Natalia Ivanovna (Natasha) - his fiance, later his wife, 28 years old
* Olga, Masha and Irina - his sisters
* Fyodor Ilyitch Kulygin - high school teacher, married to Masha, 20 years old
* Alexander Ignateyevitch Vershinin - lieutenant-colonel in charge of a battery, 42 years old
* Nikolai Lvovitch Tuzenbach - baron, lieutenant in the army, 30 years old
* Vassily Vassilyevitch Soleny - captain
* Ivan Romanovitch Chebutikin - army doctor, 60 years old
* Alexei Petrovitch Fedotik - sub-lieutenant
* Vladimir Carlovitch Rode - sub-lieutenant
* Ferapont - door-keeper at local council offices, an old man
* Anfisa - nurse, 80 years old
The Three Sisters is a play about the decay of the privileged class in Russia and the search for meaning in the modern world. It describes the lives and aspirations of the Prozorov family, the three sisters (Olga, Masha, and Irina) and their brother Andrei. They are a family who are dissatisfied and frustrated with their present existence. The sisters are refined and cultured young women who grew up in urban Moscow, however for the past eleven years they have been living in a small provincial town. Moscow is a major part of the plot: the sisters are always dreaming of it and constantly express that they will go back. Moscow is the place where they were happiest, and to them it represents perfection. However as the play develops they seem to move further away from their dream.
Olga works as a teacher in a gymnasium, or a school. Masha is married to Fyodor Ilyich Kulygin, a teacher. At the time of their marriage, Masha was enchanted by his cleverness, but seven years later, she considers him to be rather stupid. Irina is the youngest sister, she dreams of going to Moscow and meeting her true love. Andrei is the only boy in the family. He is in love with Natasha Ivanovna. The play begins on the first anniversary of their father's death, also Irina's name-day. It follows with a party. At this Andrei tells his feelings to Natasha.
Act two begins about 21 months later, Andrei and Natasha are married and have a child. Masha begins to have an affair with Aleksandr Ignatyevich Vershinin, a lieutenant commander who is married to a woman who constantly attempts suicide.
The play contains several other characters who belong to an army regiment stationed near the town. They include Chebutykin, who is an old doctor, a lieutenant named Baron Teuzenbach and a captain named Solyony. In Act IV, the soldiers, who by now are friends of the family, are preparing to leave the area. Just as they are leaving, Solyony kills Teuzenbach in a duel. This does not occur on stage, but a shot is heard and the death is announced shortly before the end of the play, with many of the characters not knowing how to react.

The Cherry Orchard (Вишнёвый сад or Vishniovy sad in Russian) is Russian playwright Anton Chekhov's last play. It premiered at the Moscow Art Theatre 17 January 1904 in a production directed by Konstantin Stanislavski and within six months, Chekhov died of tuberculosis. Chekhov intended this play as a comedy and it does contain some elements of farce, however, Stanislavski insisted on directing the play as a tragedy. Since this initial production, directors have had to contend with the dual nature of this play.
The play concerns an aristocratic Russian woman and her family as they return to the family's estate (which includes a large and well-known cherry orchard) just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage. While presented with options to save the estate, the family essentially does nothing and the play ends with the estate being sold and the family leaving to the sound of the cherry orchard being cut down. The story presents themes of cultural futility — both the futility of the aristocracy to maintain its status and the futility of the bourgeoisie to find meaning in its newfound materialism. In reflecting the socio-economic forces at work in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, including the rise of the middle class after the abolition of the feudal system in the mid-19th century and the sinking of the aristocracy, the play reflects the forces at work around the globe in that period.
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  billyfantles | Sep 12, 2006 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chekhov, AntonAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Szalay, Lajosmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bæcklund, AstridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gielgud, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grevenius, HerbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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