7 Short Farces by Anton Chekhov The Bear, a Reluctant Tragic Hero, Swan Song, the Proposal, the Dangers of Tobacco, the Festivities, the Wedding Reception

ISBN-10: 0822216450
ISBN-13: 9780822216452
Edition: 1999
List price: $9.00 Buy it from $2.72
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Description: THE STORIES: SWAN SONG. An actor wakes up with a hangover, locked in the theater after the evening's performance. He is terrified when he thinks a ghost appears, but it is only the theater's prompter. The actor tells him stories of his life and also  More...

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Book details

List price: $9.00
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/1/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 101
Size: 5.50" wide x 7.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.242
Language: English

THE STORIES: SWAN SONG. An actor wakes up with a hangover, locked in the theater after the evening's performance. He is terrified when he thinks a ghost appears, but it is only the theater's prompter. The actor tells him stories of his life and also of his doubts about his career. Unburdened, he goes off cheered, reciting great speeches from Shakespeare. (2 men.) In THE BEAR a landowner comes to claim a debt from a young woman whose husband has just died. Out of grief, she refuses to see him—her attempt to prove to her faithless dead husband that women are more loyal than men. Eventually, the young widow and the landowner quarrel and decide to fight a duel, leaving the landowner so impressed that he falls madly in love and proposes. The widow accepts. (2 men, 1 woman.) THE PROPOSAL portrays a nervous young farmer who comes to propose to his neighbor's daughter. Instead of making the proposal, the two young people get involved in comic arguments. The young man leaves, the girl goes into hysterics until the father goes after the young man, who returns. He finally proposes, she accepts, and the two go on fighting. (2 men, 1 woman.) A RELUCTANT TRAGIC HERO. Our hero spends the summer in the country but is driven to the brink of distraction by various demands to run errands in the city and bring back lots of odd items to the country with him. (2 men.) THE WEDDING RECEPTION. A daffy young couple, with equally daffy family and friends, desires an important wedding reception. To get it, they pay a friend to bring a general with him. The friend pockets the money and instead shows up with a retired sailor who drives the party crazy with his sea stories. (7 men, 3 women.) In THE FESTIVITIES a pompous, self-important bank manager prepares to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the branch office he manages. He arranges for a series of spontaneous tributes to his supposed expertise, but chaos ensues when his wife returns from a visit to her mother's, and a crazy woman comes looking for a job for her husband. (3 men, 2 women.) THE DANGERS OF TOBACCO portrays the shaky state of mind of a henpecked man whose wife runs a boarding school. At the end of this tragicomic piece, the man is saved from a breakdown by the sudden arrival of his wife. (1 man.)

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in the provincial town of Taganrog, Ukraine, in 1860. In the mid-1880s, Chekhov became a physician, and shortly thereafter he began to write short stories. Chekhov started writing plays a few years later, mainly short comic sketches he called vaudvilles. The first collection of his humorous writings, Motley Stories, appeared in 1886, and his first play, Ivanov, was produced in Moscow the next year. In 1896, the Alexandrinsky Theater in St. Petersburg performed his first full- length drama, The Seagull. Some of Chekhov's most successful plays include The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya, and Three Sisters. Chekhov brought believable but complex personalizations to his characters, while exploring the conflict between the landed gentry and the oppressed peasant classes. Chekhov voiced a need for serious, even revolutionary, action, and the social stresses he described prefigured the Communist Revolution in Russia by twenty years. He is considered one of Russia's greatest playwrights. Chekhov contracted tuberculosis in 1884, and was certain he would die an early death. In 1901, he married Olga Knipper, an actress who had played leading roles in several of his plays. Chekhov died in 1904, spending his final years in Yalta.

Paul Schmidt is the winner of the Max Hayward Prize for his translation of Velimir Khlebnikov, The King of Time: Selected Writings of the Russian Futurian (Harvard).

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