Plays by Anton Chekhov

audio The Cherry Orchard

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Chekhov’s masterful last play, The Cherry Orchard, is a work of timeless, bittersweet beauty about the fading fortunes of an aristocratic Russian family and their struggle to maintain their status in a changing world. Alternately touching and farcical, this subtle, intelligent play stars the incomparable Marsha Mason. Translated and adapted by Frank Dwyer and Nicholas Saunders.

Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Directed by Rosalind Ayres
Producing Director: Susan Albert Loewenberg
Marsha Mason as Madame Lyubov Andreyevna Ranyevskaya
Hector Elizondo as Leonid Andreyevich Gayev
Michael Cristofer as Yermolay Alekseyevich Lopakhin
Jennifer Tilly as Dunyasha (Avdotya Fyodorovna)
Joey Slotnick as Semyon Panteleyevich Yepikhodov
Christy Keefe as Anya Ranyevskaya
Amy Pletz as Varya Ranyevskaya
Jordan Baker as Charlotta Ivanovna
Jeffrey Jones as Boris Borisovich Semyonov-Pischick
Charles Durning as Feers
Tim DeKay as Pyotr Sergeyevich Trofimov
John Chardiet as Passer-By

Sound Effects Artist/Stage Manager: Jane Slater
Assistant Stage Manager: Cary Thompson
Radio Producer: Raymond Guarna
Associate Producer: Susan Raab

The Cherry Orchard (adapt. Murphy)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Chekhov’s tragicomedy of inertia and loss – perhaps his most popular play – an aristocratic family cling to their sheltered lives in a picturesque estate while the forces of social change beat on the walls outside.

Completely bankrupt, Lyubov Ranyevskaya returns with her daughter Anya from Paris to her childhood home, to the beautiful cherry orchard outside the house and to her grief. The estate is paralysed by debt, but she and her billiard-playing brother refuse to save their finances by having the vast orchard cut down to build holiday cottages. Hopelessly paralysed, incapable of decisive action, they put the estate up for auction, and find their world is brought crashing down by powerful forces rooted deep in history and in the society around them

Chekhov maintained that the play was a cheerful and frivolous comedy, but audiences have found its tragedy irresistible. The comedy is poignant; the tone is ambiguous, both farcical and piercing. While remaining faithful to the original, Tom Murphy’s adaptation reimagines the events of this classic play in a language that resonates with wit, clarity and verve. It was first performed in 2004 at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

video The Cherry Orchard (NT)

National Theatre
Type: Video

Age recommendation: 12+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 30th June, 2011.

Ranyevskaya returns more or less bankrupt after ten years abroad. Luxuriating in her fading moneyed world and regardless of the increasingly hostile forces outside, she and her brother snub the lucrative scheme of Lopakhin, a peasant turned entrepreneur, to save the family estate. In so doing, they put up their lives to auction and seal the fate of the beloved orchard.

Set at the very start of the twentieth century, Andrew Upton’s new version of Chekhov’s classic captures a poignant moment in Russia's history as the country rolls inexorably towards 1917.

For teacher resources, visit this page.

CAST
Dunyasha: Emily Taaffe
Lopakhin: Conleth Hill
Yepihodov: Pip Carter
Anya: Charity Wakefield
Ranyevskaya: Zoe Wanamaker
Varya: Claudie Blakley
Gaev: James Laurenson
Charlotta: Sarah Woodward
Simyonov-Pishchik: Tim McMullan
Yasha: Gerald Kyd
Firs: Kenneth Cranham
Peya Trofimov: Mark Bonnar
A Passer-by: Craige Els
The Station Master: Paul Dodds
Ensemble: Mark Fleischmann
Ensemble: Colin Haigh
Ensemble: Jessica Regan
Ensemble: Tim Samuels
Ensemble: Stephanie Thomas
Ensemble: Joseph Thompson
Ensemble: Rosie Thomson
Ensemble: Ellie Turner

CREATIVES
Director: Howard Davies
Author: Andrew Upton
Designer: Bunny Christie
Lighting Designer: Neil Austin
Music: Dominic Muldowney
Sound Designer: Paul Groothuis
Choreographer: Lynne Page

Ivanov (trans. Hare)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Ivanov is a man paralysed by existential ennui; his self-loathing is by turns ridiculous and pathetic, as Chekhov’s first completed play whips between farce and tragedy.

Ivanov is deep in debt and out of love with his wife Anna, only rising out of his apathy to express disgust at his own ridiculous condition. He is pursued by rumours that he married Anna for her money, only to be frustrated when she was disinherited by her father after converting from Judaism. Anna is now dying of tuberculosis, sharpening Ivanov’s loss of affection into cruelty. The intensity of his crumpled boredom is fascinating – particularly for the young woman Sasha, the daughter of one of his creditors, who declares her passionate love for him when he visits her father’s house for a languid party. Whether he is accepting her advances, or debating the nature of honesty with his wife’s prim doctor, Ivanov is always sullen and self-lacerating; he satirises himself as an imitation Hamlet. Chekov’s tragicomic portrait of depression is uniquely hilarious and devastating.

This version of Ivanov was first performed at the Almeida Theatre, London, in 1997.

Ivanov (trans. Hare)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Anton Chekhov is one of the undisputed masters of world drama. He is usually thought to hide himself behind his characters and stories, keeping his own personality well off-stage. But when he was young he wrote three plays - Platonov, Ivanov and The Seagull - which, with their thrilling sunbursts of youthful anger and romanticism, reveal a very different playwright from the one known by his mature, more familiar work.

These three blazing dramas, in versions by internationally acclaimed dramatist David Hare, offer the chance to explore the birth of a revolutionary dramatic voice. Each shows a writer progressively freeing himself from the constraints of nineteenth-century melodrama and heralds the shift into the twentieth century, and the birth of the modern stage.

Ivanov premiered as part of the Young Chekhov season at the Chichester Festival Theatre in the autumn of 2015. The plays transferred to National Theatre in the summer of 2016.

Nikolai Ivanov is only 35, a radical and a romantic, but already he’s feeling that he’s thrown his life away. Determined not to become a small-town Hamlet, he hopes one last desperate romance may save him from a society rotten with anti-Semitism and drink.

Platonov (trans. Hare)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Anton Chekhov is one of the undisputed masters of world drama. He is usually thought to hide himself behind his characters and stories, keeping his own personality well off-stage. But when he was young he wrote three plays - Platonov, Ivanov and The Seagull - which, with their thrilling sunbursts of youthful anger and romanticism, reveal a very different playwright from the one known by his mature, more familiar work.

These three blazing dramas, in versions by internationally acclaimed dramatist David Hare, offer the chance to explore the birth of a revolutionary dramatic voice. Each shows a writer progressively freeing himself from the constraints of nineteenth-century melodrama and heralds the shift into the twentieth century, and the birth of the modern stage.

Platanov premiered as part of the Young Chekhov season at the Chichester Festival Theatre in the autumn of 2015. The plays transferred to National Theatre in the summer of 2016.

Set in the blazing heat of a rural summer, irresistible schoolteacher Mikhail Platonov is caught in a whirlwind of lust, dangerous liaisons and vodka.

audio The Seagull

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull is considered one of his most haunting and atmospheric character studies. A would-be playwright is at war with his egoistic mother while the town has become intoxicated by a sensational author. And as the alluring newcomer steals away Kosta’s only love, their new romance could have devastating consequences.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Calista Flockhart as Irina Nikolayevna Arkadina T.R. Knight as Konstantin Treplev Stephen Collins as Yevgeny Dorn Gordon Clapp as Ilya Shamrayev Logan Fahey as Semyon Medvedenko Cindy Katz as Polina Andreyevna Dakin Matthews as Pyotr Sorin Bess Rous as Masha Josh Stamberg as Boris Alexeyevich Trigorin Kira Sternbach as Nina Directed by Rosalind Ayres. Translated by Christopher Hampton. Recorded by L.A. Theatre Works before a live audience.

Featuring: Gordon Clapp, Stephen Collins, Logan Fahey, Calista Flockhart, Cindy Katz, T.R. Knight, Dakin Matthews, Bess Rous, Josh Stamberg, Kira Sternbach

The Seagull (trans. Hampton)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

I know now, Kostya, I understand that in our work – doesn't matter whether it's acting or writing – what's important isn't fame or glamour, none of the things I used to dream about, it's the ability to endure.

The Seagull is one of the great plays about writing. It superbly captures the struggle for new forms, the frustrations and fulfilments of putting words on a page. Chekhov, in his first major play, staged a vital argument about the theatre which still resonates today.

Christopher Hampton's version of this classic premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in January 2007.

The Seagull (trans. Hare)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Anton Chekhov is one of the undisputed masters of world drama. He is usually thought to hide himself behind his characters and stories, keeping his own personality well off-stage. But when he was young he wrote three plays - Platonov, Ivanov and The Seagull - which, with their thrilling sunbursts of youthful anger and romanticism, reveal a very different playwright from the one known by his mature, more familiar work.

These three blazing dramas, in versions by internationally acclaimed dramatist David Hare, offer the chance to explore the birth of a revolutionary dramatic voice. Each shows a writer progressively freeing himself from the constraints of nineteenth-century melodrama and heralds the shift into the twentieth century, and the birth of the modern stage.

The Seagull premiered as part of the Young Chekhov season at the Chichester Festival Theatre in the autumn of 2015. The plays transferred to National Theatre in the summer of 2016.

On a summer’s day in a makeshift theatre by a lake, Konstantin’s cutting-edge new play is performed, changing the lives of everyone involved forever.

audio Three Sisters

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A full-cast performance of Chekhov’s masterpiece starring Jennifer Westfeldt, Tessa Thompson, Sarah Zimmerman and Jon Hamm.

Meet Olga, Masha, and Irina, warm and cultured young sisters who were reared in the exciting hubbub of Moscow, but have been living in the dull, gossipy backwaters of Russia for far too long. With their father’s passing, and the ordinary grip of day-to-day life slowly suffocating them, the urge to return to the city with its rich and exciting life rises to a fever pitch. First performed in 1901, Three Sisters beautifully mixes humor and heartbreak and is a perennial favorite of actors and audiences alike. The great Russian playwright Anton Chekhov is one of the most influential figures in modern literature, whose classic works include Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard (also available from L.A. Theatre Works). An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Jennifer Westfeldt as Masha Tessa Thompson as Irina Sarah Zimmerman as Olga Jon Hamm as Vershinin Josh Clark as Solyony and Rode Josh Cooke as Kulygin Dan Donohue as Tuzenbach Pamela Dunlap as Anfisa Marc Halsey as Fedotik Rebecca Mozo as Natasha Robert Pine as Chebutykin and Ferapont Reid Scott as Andrei Translated by Christopher Hampton. Directed by Jenny Sullivan. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Josh Clark, Josh Cooke, Dan Donohue, Pamela Dunlap, Marc Halsey, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Mozo, Robert Pine, Reid Scott, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Westfeldt, Sarah Zimmerman

Picture of Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), Russian physician, dramatist and author, is considered to be one of the greatest writers of short stories and modern drama. Born in Taganrog, a port town near the Black Sea, he attended medical school at Moscow University. He began writing to supplement his income, writing short humorous sketches of contemporary Russian life. A successful literary careered followed, before his premature death of TB at the age of 44. He is best-remembered for his four dramatic masterpieces: The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1899), Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904).