Re: Anton Chekhov
I am glad to have discovered this thread on Chekhov. He is definitely one of my favorite short story writers. Among my favorite stories would be "The Teacher of Literature," "An Incident," "The Lady with the Dog" (quite an obvious one) and "Two Scandals." I'm quite a fan of Chekov's plays, as well. Having been a stage actress, I've had the opportunity to act in his plays, which, I assure you, is a unique and exhilarating experience! What I was told again and again by the different theatre directors I worked with was to remember that Chekhov intended for his plays to be interpreted humorously.
If anyone is interested, there is a top-notch book of essays on Chekhov's plays. When I was acting, it was my "Chekov Bible." It's called _Chekov's Plays_: An opening into eternity_ by Richard Gilman. The essays are brilliantly written. My favorite essay is the one on "Ivanov." Please understand--the essays are not merely on the themes and characters within the plays. They also give one a
richer, broader, more comprehensive understanding of Chekov himself. As Gilman writes, when speaking of what he terms (to coin a phrase Gogol used) Chekhov's "genius of the ordinary":
"Only a great, deep, rare genius can catch what surrounds us daily, what always accompanies us, what is ordinary--while mediocrity grabs with both hands all that is out of rule, what happens but seldom catches the eye by its ugliness and disharmony."
It is too difficult for me to choose my favorite Chekhov play. Perhaps, it would be "The Seagull." There is a contemporary playwright named Stephen Dietz who wrote "The Nina Variations," an intriguing little play centered around the heroine of "The Seagull," Nina. It is certainly worth checking out--if, that is, you enjoy reading plays.
"One's life has value so long as one attributes value
to the life of others by means of love, friendship,
indignation, and compassion."
~Simone de Beauvoir
"All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran