This is the first cross-cultural study of Chekhov's plays in production. Many now consider Chekhov a playwright equal to Shakespeare, and this book studies how the reputation evolved, and how the presentation of his plays varied and altered from their initial productions in Russia to the most recent postmodern deconstructions of them. In the process, Laurence Senelick analyses the ways in which the reception of Chekhov's plays reflects social, political and aesthetic attitudes in specific countries. Particular attention is given to the staging of Chekhov in Russia before and after the Revolution, and under different regimes; in the English-speaking world, in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as in Japan. Senelick also includes interpretations of Chekhov by the century's most influential directors and designers with valuable and informative illustrations of key productions also a feature of the book.
• Accessible and lively overview of Chekhov interpretations through the century • First and most comprehensive stage history of Chekhov in any language - winner of prestigious Barnard Hewitt Award for outstanding contribution to theatre research (1997) • Suitable for student courses and general theatre goers - Senelick internationally recognized authority
Introduction; Play list; List of illustrations; 1. Compromising with the theatre (Russia 1880–1896); 2. A brace of gulls (Russia 1896–1898); 3. Moscow nights (The Moscow Art Theatre 1898–1905); 4. Competitors and imitators (Russian Empire 1898–1917); 5. Chekhov goes West (Europe 1888–1938); 6. Comes the Revolution (Russia 1917–1935); 7. Chekhov learns English (United Kingdom and Ireland 1900–1940); 8. At home abroad (Europe and England 1917–1938); 9. America discovers Chekhov (USA 1900–1944); 10. Under duress (Russia 1940–1945); 11. Breaking with tradition (Russia 1950–1970); 12. Ferment in an age of stagnation (Russia 1970–1990); 13. Out of the rubble (Central and Eastern Europe 1945–1985); 14. Ut pictura poesis (Italy and France 1945–1985); 15. All-American Chekhov (USA 1950–1995); 16. Chekhov without tears (United Kingdom 1950–1993); 17. Chekhov sans frontières (The world, 1900–1995); 18. The perestroika of Chekhov (Eastern Europe and Russian Federation 1989–1994); Notes; Index of Chekhov productions; Index of titles and characters; Index of proper names.
'In this fascinating and important book, Laurence Senelick traces … changes from the very first productions of Chekhov in Russia 100 years ago to the latest directorial experiments of post-modern deconstruction. Numerous illustrations inserted in the text at appropriate points accompany this highly readable, informative and most valuable study of theatrical practice - a most welcome contrast to the arid and simple-minded pseudo-theorising of much contemporary 'scholarly' writing on drama.' Plays International
'Senelick's book is more than a simple slice of theatre history: it also reflects more than a hundred years of social, political, and cultural change, inscribed in different productions, and mirrored through the prism of the plays. Senelick's is an ambitious undertaking and an exhaustive piece of research … the book will act as a very useful guide, a rich resource, and a stimulus to further investigations.' New Theatre Quarterly