(Alexandra Guryanova’s article appeared in Russia Beyond the Headlines, 3/27.)
The plays of Anton Chekhov
Chekhov's plays were a breakthrough in world drama in the first quarter of the 20th century. Their plots distinguished them from traditional dramas of that time by virtue of their special psychological depth. Chekhov did not show the only true path to the salvation of heroes. Instead, he drew spectators into the study of everyday behavior of the characters and encouraged them to make their own conclusions.
His work, alongside the works of Ibsen, Strindberg and Shaw, formed the basis of "New Drama," an important theatrical trend at the turn of the century. Outstanding playwrights revered Chekhov as the father of psychological theater. For example, Bernard Shaw called his play Heartbreak House a "fantasia in the Russian manner on English themes."
Tennessee Williams adored The Seagull and wanted to put it on stage in his interpretation for the rest of his life. This play, alongside Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard, has been translated into more than 80 languages and been staged countless times in the UK, Germany, France, Japan, the U.S. and other countries.