The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. A Methuen Student Edition of Chekhov’s classic play in Michael Frayn’s acclaimed translation.
When it first opened in St Petersburg in 1896, The Seagull survived only five performances after a disastrous first opening night. Two years later it was revived by Nemirovich-Danchenko at the newly-founded Moscow Art Theatre with Stanslasky as Trigorin and was an immediate success.
Checkhov’s description of the play was characteristically self-mocking: “A comedy – 3F, 6M, four acts, rural scenery (a view over a lake); much talk of literature, little action, five bushels of love”. Michael Frayn’s translation was commissioned by the Oxford Playhouse Company.
Anton Chekhov was a Russian playwright and short-story writer, who was famous for his masterful short stories and lyrical dreams. He was born in 1860 in Taganrog, located south in Russia. He’s the third of 6 children.
As Anton Chekhov grew up, he attended secondary school in Taganrog and in 1879 he enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Moscow. Six years later, he graduated. While in university, Anton Chekhov unfortunately got tuberculosis. Besides, he had to earn money to pay his way through college and support his family; Chekhov made a living by writing stories, short sketches or jokes to journals or papers. Later, a writer called Dmitry Grigotovich found his talent in writing and helped him improve the quality of his stories. As a result, Chekhov’s reputation began to grow.
In 1890 Chekhov made a trip to the Prison Island of Sakhalin, which is in the Far East. After his return to Russia, Chekhov was devoted to the relief work during the 1892 famine. Then, he bought a small estate at Melikhovo and moved there with his family. While living there, Chekhov created some of his best-known works. In addition to that, he produced two of his major plays, The Sea-Gull and Uncle Vanya. In 1898, the newly formed Moscow Art Theatre successfully put The Sea-Gull on the stage. Thanks to the success, the theatre also began to establish its reputation.
Chekhov is famed as a master of the short story. Although some of his best prose pieces are almost novel length, the stories, as well as his better-known short works, achieve their effect with a minimum of artistic means. All of Chekhov’s best work is an illustration of his dictum or statement: ” Conciseness is the sister of talent.” Chekhov’s plays deal with the passing of the vitality of the Russian gentry.