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"The Cherry Orchard" ("Вишнëвый Cад," 1904) - Anton Chekhov's Final Play - A Comedy Sometimes Played as a Tragedy


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A friend of mine and I finished reading "The Cherry Orchard" for the first time, and we both enjoyed it very much. Although Chekhov expressly states it's "A Comedy in Four Acts" on the title page, its first director, Konstantin Stanislavski, had it played as a travesty much to the ailing Chekhov's heartbreak: "He ruined my play," Chekhov lamented.

If you're looking for a story arc, you'll be hung out to dry by The Cherry Orchard, as it's really something of a slice of life, as well as a portrait of various classes of aristocracy, at various points in their lives. Chekhov had grown weary of Russian plays all being 'noble and formal,' and tried to do something more realistic.

That said, people, a few years ago, who declared the excellent Canadian playwright, Alice Munroe, "our generation's Chekhov," simply could not have been more wrong - Munroe is nothing like Chekhov, even though she's a fine playwright on her own terms.

Summarizing "The Cherry Orchard" would be an exercise in futility, at least in a short post such as this - it would take at least two separate readings, along with researching critical analyses, in order to even understand it.

Nevertheless, if you don't hope for an action-packed story, you may just find yourself charmed pink by the motley assortment of characters in this fine, groundbreaking work.

Has anyone else read it or seen it? I'd be delighted to discuss aspects of it in depth.

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