(Oliver Bennett’s article appeared in Russian beyond the Headlines, 10/15.)

Sam Shepard said recently about Chekhov that he was "not crazy about him as a playwright". Initially it does seem that they are very different writers, but there are, however, significant similarities in their exploration of the themes of property, family and the past. It seems that Shepard is sometimes arguing with Chekhov within his work about these issues.

A more savage Cherry Orchard?

On its premiere in 1978 one critic described Shepard's play The Curse of the Starving Class as "The Cherry Orchard returning as farce". Shepard sets his play in an American country house, with an 'avocado orchard' which is being bought up by dubious property developers and lawyers to be turned into low-rent housing.


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