Bryanne Lotter Julia Matyas Jenny Robbinsby Anton Chekhov Josh Sanchez Mike Weil and Molly Weston
Historical Setting: Before 1850• Romanticism and Melodrama• Age of Revelations• Reason replaced by imagination• Expressive Poetry• Bold use of Individualism• Good and Evil in Stock Characters• Happy Ending
Historical Setting: After 1850• Realism• Conscious Movement• World War I (1914-1918)• Russia in a Time of Crisis!• Essence rather than appearance• Rejected idealistic philosophy
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov• Born Janurary 17, 1860• Short story writer, playwright and physician• His paternal grandfather was a serf who bought freedom for himself and his family• His father was a merchant who overextended finances and estate and fled with the rest of family to Moscow to escape prison; Chekhov followed 3 years later• Died in 1904: Tuberculosis
• Graduated from Moscow University School of Medicine; soon gave up practice to dedicate time to writing• “Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress”• Published comic sketches, parodies and dialogues
Writing Styles• Focused on character, social class and setting while maintaining authorial objectivity• Minimized importance of traditional dramatic climaxes by reducing their impact• Drama of understatement and nuance
Themes of The Cherry Orchard• Memory: source of burden or happiness?• Modern vs. Traditional Russia• Emergence of realism
Plot *• LiubóvRanyévskaya and Ánya return to family’s estate after 5 years in Paris• Liubóv is thrilled to be home while Ánya reveals to sister Várya the poverty her mom lived in while in Paris and their mom’s frivolous spending – Várya reveals that estate will be sold in August to pay for debts – Ánya reveals that mother’s departure was to escape memory of the deaths of father and son• Friend and former peasant turned businessman Lopákhin suggests way to save estate: – Building summer cottages for the growing number of vacationers • Liubóv and brother dismiss idea: attached to Cherry trees * denotes Dramatic Form
• Lopákhin offers again his idea to help support the transformation of the Orchard to vacation homes – Liubóv would rather be sold with the orchard – Revealed how Liubóv throws money away• Student Trofímov sees Orchard as symbol of past oppression
• On the day of the auction Liubóv and her family throw a party• Liubóv fears the worst because all her plans fell through• Lopákhin returns and announces he bought the Orchard and will carry through with his plans
• Cherry Trees are being cut down and the family leaves the estate• Ánya worries that the old and ill butler Firs hasn’t been taken to the hospital – Firs is accidently left behind and locked inside the house• He dies to the sound of cherry trees being cut down
The Moscow Art Theatre and Realism in Russia• As realism continued to spread throughout European countries, Russia had to await its “independent theatre” before more reforms could take place.• Russian dramatists Turgenev, Ostrovsky, and Pisemsky had put together a realistic school of writing but small changes were made until the Moscow Art Theatre was founded by Konstantin Stanislavsky (1863-1938) and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko (1858-1943).• The Moscow Art Theatre was unlike any other independent theatre; it was focused on the presentation of plays and it being a fully professional organization.
Konstantin Stanislavsky: The Style of Acting *• Stanislavsky is best known for his work in the approach of acting. He gave careful and close attention to detail in acting. He made an outline of his ideas in 1909.• His ideas were not published until 1942, when he wrote My Life in Art. Most of his writings were not known outside of Russia until Building a Character (1949) and Creating a Role (1961). The English-language nor the Russian-language versions of his works were reliable due to the fact that the USSR did not have rights to the Copyright Agreement when the works were published. Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood controlled the international rights and were copyrighted under her name.• Through Hapgood and Soviet collaborations, accurate and correct translations of his writings began to surface. * denotes Dramatic Form
• The main outlines of Stanislavsky’s books were written out: – The actor’s body and voice should be trained so they may respond efficiently to all demands. – Actors should be schooled in stage techniques so they can project characterization to an audience without any sense of contrivance. – Actors should be skilled observers of reality as a basis for building a role. – Actors should seek inner justification for everything done on stage. – If actors are not merely to play themselves, they must make a thorough analysis of the script and work within the “given circumstances” found there. – On stage, actors must focus attention upon the action as it unfolds moment by moment. – Actors must continually strive to perfect understanding and proficiency.• The books were meant to analyze an actor’s work and to continue building on education and various methods. Stanislavsky was never fully satisfied with his system and continued to refine it till the day he died.
Characters of The Cherry Orchard *• LiubóvRanyévskaya – The owner of the estate and the cherry orchard. She represents love and expresses it to many of the characters. She is deeply disconnected from her status as an aristocrat. Liubóv’s character is defined by flight, both physical and emotional. She flees frequently from her location, which is paralleled by emotional flight from present to the past.• Lopákhin – is the business man of the estate and the son of the peasants who died on the estate under Liubóv’s control. He has offered to help Liubóv pay her debts by selling the cherry orchard. He ends up buying the cherry orchard himself. Lopákhin is the character who is constantly in charge of driving the play forward; he is its source of energy and action.• Gáyev – He is Liubóv’s brother and Uncle to Ánya and Várya. He is the odd uncle and has the habit of speaking during the wrong time and talking about odd and absurd things, serving as a comedic foil to the plot.• Várya - The adopted daughter of Liubóv. The estate and the cherry orchard mean the most to her since it is her job as manager. She also likes Lopákhin. She is the one character that seems to feel the emotional weight of everything around her. Her character portrays the tragic version of the performance, rather than comedic.• Ánya – She is the youngest and biological daughter to Liubóv. She plays into and represents the idealism spoken by Trofímov. She becomes very close with Trofímov and serves as a foil character to him. * denotes Dramatic Form
• Píshchik – He is landowner and has financial difficulties as well in dealing with them. He is certain he will find the necessary capital he needs to pay off his debts. He represents a caricature throughout the play; he never stops talking.• Trofímov – He is the "eternal student,” and provides most of the explicit ideological discussion in the play. Trofímov makes the plays social allegory explicit. He idealizes work, as well as the search for truth, decrying the poor living conditions in which most Russian peasants live, as well as the "Russian intellectuals" whose inactivity he deems responsible for these conditions. His idealism and intellectualism make him a foil for the practical, materialistic Lopákhin, but he also serves as a foil for Liubóv.• Firs – He is the very old manservant. He represents and talks about the estates past and how things use to be. He is the only link to the past and spends his time throughout the play mumbling memories of the cherry orchard. His views are thought to have represented Chekov’s perspective.• Yephikódov – He is the clerk at the estate, he is the funny character of the play providing comic relief throughout the play. He has a love interest in Dunyásha and has made an attempt to propose to her.• Yásha – He is the young servant of the estate. He likes Dunyásha and makes advances on her throughout the play. He uses the love she shows to him with physical pleasure.• Dunyásha – She is the young maid of the estate and is wanted by Yephikódov but has more of a connection to Yásha.
ACT SCENE Josh as Trofímov Mike as Lopákhin pg. 378 lines 25-80
Diction *• In the scene, Lopákhin and Trofímov’s dialogue don’t always match up, especially in the beginning. – This is characteristic of Chekov’s “farce” because the people are wrapped up in their own lives and interject serious conversation with personal, abstract statements.• Lopákhin, the stereotypical serf who earned his own money, cannot understand why Trofímov doesn’t want to take his money. To him, success and happiness coincided with earning money.• Trofímov ends this scene on an optimistic note, saying how he will help the progession of humanity. – Another comedic interjection is made when Lopákhin mocks Trofímov by asking if he thinks his presence is actually necessary or even noticed. * denotes Dramatic Form
Poetry *• Tragedy vs. Comedy? – The plot is tragic when viewed from the Ranyévskaya family’s perspective. – The dynamics between the characters is why Chekhov considered it a comedy. * denotes Dramatic Form
Spectacle *• The play first opened on January 17, 1904 (also the year of Chekhov’s death):• Play was performed at the Moscow Art Theatre• Directed by Constantin Stanislavski• Stanislavski’s version was a tragedy – Chekhov hated this version because he had intended for it to be a comedy – Said that Stanislavski ruined his play• Chekhov’s wife, Olga Knipper played Madame Ranevskaya * denotes Dramatic Form
Recent Versions• In 1934, one of the first English versions of the play was performed at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London• A version of the play was televised in 1959 as a part of a special television series called Play of the Week• In 1977 the play opened in Lincoln Center in New York City featuring Irene Worth, Raul Julia, and Meryl Streep
Reception by Society• Called one of the most talented writers of his generation• Won the Pushkin Prize for his collection of stories In the Twilight• The premiere of his play The Seagull in 1896 was received so negatively that he fled the theater and vowed to never write another play• United with Director Stanislavsky and revived The Seagull and wrote one of his most famous plays: The Cherry Orchard