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The Cherry Orchard: Catastrophe and Comedy Hardcover – Apr 1994

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Twayne Pub (April 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805783644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805783643
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,498,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

For decades after its first performance in 1904, Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard fomented controversy among producers, actors, critics, and audiences. Along with its intrinsic textual richness, linguistic power, and subtlety, the play is saturated with many different, apparently incompatible, elements; it constantly shifts from comedy to pathos, its language concomitantly oscillating from music hall vulgarity to prose poetry. Chekhov assigned a personal way of speaking to each character, divorcing consequence from action, cause from effect. Despite the controversy generated by its paradoxical nature, however, The Cherry Orchard has become a milestone in twentieth-century drama. In this astute analysis of Chekhov's last play, Donald Rayfield argues that The Cherry Orchard can be best understood when read as a culmination of the dramatist's major plays, particularly The Seagull (1896) and Three Sisters (1901). Stressing that Chekhov the playwright is inseparable from Chekhov the story writer, Rayfield points up instances in which the author "reuses" material from such classic stories as "A Visit to Friends", "Panpipes", "The Black Monk", and "The Bride". An engaging history of the how the play came to be - complete with citations from Chekhov's notebooks to show the parallels between his life and the lives of his characters - amplifies Rayfield's dissemination of the dramatist's themes and stylistics technique. Rayfield further uses Chekhov's letters to and from those involved in the initial production - the Moscow Arts Theater director Konstantin Stanislavsky; Chekhov's wife, the actress Olga Knipper; and various of Chekhov's contemporaries in the theater - to chronicle the play'sevolution. The apparent contradiction of a play that is simultaneously comic and tragic is, Rayfield concludes, a fact of the modernist drama of Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, and Antonin Artaud. Rayfield's concise analysis is an essential companion to any reading of The Cherry Orchard, as it delineates the play's seminal role in the evolution of twentieth-century theater and its crucial position in Russian cultural history as both the culmination of all realist nineteenth-century fiction and the first masterpiece of a new, arguably symbolist or absurdist, literature. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Paperback
As an actor dealing with navigating the dangerous world of Chekhov on the stage, I am always looking to find whatever information I can on the landscape of his work. I read Rayfield's Biography of Chekhov which was quite thorough and very informative (if difficult to get through) and I picked up this one to take me a bit more into his view of Chekhov. This is a realy solid book, full of wonderfully well-thought ideas peppered with his knowledge and research, and it really helped to put some perspective on the piece. The danger is that it is Rayfield's perspective, and at times his opinions override the play as a whole. As a research tool, I'd highly recommend it for actors -- he illuminates some pretty sticky spots and gives some real useful angles on the text, as well as sharing the histories in performance and criticism. But it is all his own ideas, which are well to be respected, but he's deeply attached to making sense of the plays relative to what he's found in Chekhov's life, and THAT can be distracting and problematic. It was for me. Thankfully, he's quite clear about his opinions -- they are more than obvious. So despite those minor distractions, I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting to dig a little deeper into Chekhov's world.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading the play. But, I found it to be a very simplistic and mundane piece of literature. Overall, I enjoyed the simplicity and down-to-earth form of the play quite fascinating.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa1ba6af8) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa51c5eb8) out of 5 stars As an actor..... April 7 2001
By Jason Markouc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As an actor dealing with navigating the dangerous world of Chekhov on the stage, I am always looking to find whatever information I can on the landscape of his work. I read Rayfield's Biography of Chekhov which was quite thorough and very informative (if difficult to get through) and I picked up this one to take me a bit more into his view of Chekhov. This is a realy solid book, full of wonderfully well-thought ideas peppered with his knowledge and research, and it really helped to put some perspective on the piece. The danger is that it is Rayfield's perspective, and at times his opinions override the play as a whole. As a research tool, I'd highly recommend it for actors -- he illuminates some pretty sticky spots and gives some real useful angles on the text, as well as sharing the histories in performance and criticism. But it is all his own ideas, which are well to be respected, but he's deeply attached to making sense of the plays relative to what he's found in Chekhov's life, and THAT can be distracting and problematic. It was for me. Thankfully, he's quite clear about his opinions -- they are more than obvious. So despite those minor distractions, I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting to dig a little deeper into Chekhov's world.
0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa51c92ac) out of 5 stars I found this play to be very simple. Nov. 19 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading the play. But, I found it to be a very simplistic and mundane piece of literature. Overall, I enjoyed the simplicity and down-to-earth form of the play quite fascinating.


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