«Если хочешь стать оптимистом и понять жизнь, то перестань верить тому, что говорят и пишут, а наблюдай сам и вникай.» Антон Чехов "The Laboratory of Dr. Chekhov" -- his quotes about theatre.
"The people I am afraid of are the ones who look for tendentiousness between the lines and are determined to see me as either liberal or conservative. I am neither liberal, nor conservative, nor gradualist, nor monk, nor indifferentist. I would like to be a free artist and nothing else, and I regret God has not given me the strength to be one." — To Alexei Pleshcheyev, October 4, 1888


"I still lack a political, religious and philosophical world view — I change it every month — and so I'll have to limit myself to descriptions of how my heroes love, marry, give birth, die, and how they speak." — To Dmitry Grigorovich, October 9, 1888

"One has to write what one sees, what one feels, truthfully, sincerely. I am often asked what it was that I was wanting to say in this or that story. To these questions I never have any answer. There is nothing I want to say. My concern is to write, not to teach! And I can write about anything you like. ... Tell me to write about this bottle, and I will give you a story entitled "The Bottle." Living truthful images generate thought, but thought cannot create an image.

In my opinion it is not the writer's job to solve such problems as God, pessimism, etc; his job is merely to record who, under what conditions, said or thought what about God or pessimism. The artist is not meant to be a judge of his characters and what they say; his only job is to be an impartial witness. I heard two Russians in a muddled conversation about pessimism, a conversation that solved nothing; all I am bound to do is reproduce that conversation exactly as I heard it. Drawing conclusions is up to the jury, that is, the readers. My only job is to be talented, that is, to know how to distinguish important testimony from unimportant, to place my characters in the proper light and speak their language." — To Alexei Suvorin, May 30, 1888

DISCLAIMER -- The materials on this site are to be used for purely educational and non-commercial purposes. If you need to reproduce some of the texts, make sure to mention copyright - author's, editor's or translator's - and this site's address as the source of electronic form.

My "second Chekhov" in twenty years; The Three Sisters (1999) and Mini-Chekhov (2005).


1) ФИЗИКА ("собственник")

2) ВОЛЯ ("дворянин")

3) ЭМОЦИЯ ("сухарь")

4) ЛОГИКА ("школяр")

Куприн -- Чехов "мог быть добрым и щедрым не любя, ласковым и участливым - без привязанности, благодетелем - не рассчитывая на благодарность. И в этих чертах, которые всегда оставались неясными для окружающих, кроется, может быть, главная разгадка его личности".

Потапенко: "не может быть подвергнуто сомнению, что искреннего влечения к врачебной деятельности А.П. не питал. Заблуждения же наблюдателей обьясняется тем, что за влечение они принимали исключительно развитое в нем чувство долга, которое заставляло его с улыбкой на губах делать то, что было ему неприятно и даже противно..."

Ахматова: "...его вселенная однообразна и скучна, солнце в ней никогда не светит, мечи не сверкают, все покрыто ужасающим серым туманом; мир Чехова - это море грязи, в котором барахтаются несчастные человеческие существа..."

Chekhov: "Между "есть Бог" и "нет Бога" лежит целое громадное поле, которое с трудом проходит истинный мудрец. Русский человек знает какую-либо одну из двух крайностей, середина же между ними не интересует его, и потому он обыкновенно не знает ничего или очень мало". [ Between "God exists" and "There is no God" lies the huge field, which a true wise man crosses with the great difficulty. A Russian man knows only one of those two extremes, the middle part is of no interest for him, and therefor he usually knows nothing or very little.]

[ the relations between two Chekhovs? Most interesting. ]

Антон Чехов
Дополнительные вопросы

16) Умный вы человек или дурень?
17) Вы честный человек? мошенник? разбойник? каналья? адвокат или?
18) Какой фельетонист вам более по душе? Суворин? Буква? Амикус? Лукин? Юлий Шрейер или?
19) Иосиф вы или Калигула? Сусанна или Нана?
20) Жена ваша блондинка? брюнетка? шантретка? рыжая?
21) Бьет вас жена или нет? Вы бьете ее или нет?
22) Сколько вы весили фунтов, когда вам было десять лет?
23) Горячие напитки употребляете? да или нет?
24) О чем вы думали в ночь переписи?
25) Сару Бернар видели? нет?

1904 6/1 -- death.

[ Разрешено свободное распространение текстов при условии сохранения целостности текста (включая данную информацию). Разрешено свободное использование для некоммерческих целей при условии ссылки на источник. ]

Director's Notes

While he is alive, we take great man for granted. "After my death they will remember me for seven years. Allright, maybe for seven and a half," said Chekhov with a smile.

Even 100 years after his death he is taken for granted. We can't believe that one of us indeed is a genius. Who? This sick one with a glasses? "Immortal"? Like a god? Give me a break!

The same was with Shakespeare. Come on! He was just an actor! And what did he do? Wrote some words. Big deal!

They both were lucky, at least died in their bed, not on the cross. That's how much we value other -- and ourselves.

And why should we? He didn't take himself seriously. Onlt later we ask -- where is another Chekhov to write about our times? Why don't we have another Shakespeare to immortalize us?


Because it's miracle.

It happens once a while.

Actually, it happens only once...

It won't happend again.


And this is why I stage it...

SYNOPSIS Four Farces and a Funeral [from letters] The playwright Anton Chekhov is in the Crimean seaside resort of Yalta, attempting to recover from consumption. He exchanges frequent letters with his wife, the actress Olga Knipper, who is performing in his plays at the Moscow Art Theatre.

Anton and Olga keep their spirits up with gossip, reminiscences of happier days, and with the thought of their planned meeting in the summer. Their thoughts frequently turn to love and marriage, and Anton is reminded of the matrimonial farces he wrote as a young man. As his imagination takes flight, three of these farces materialize on stage.

In The Proposal, a nervous young landowner has come to propose marriage to his neighbor's daughter. No sooner does he summon up the courage to ask her, though, than they begin to argue about property rights, and their squabbling threatens to destroy their chances of a match.

The Bear tells of a wealthy heiress, recently widowed, who receives an unwelcome visit from a landowner to whom her late husband was in debt. Their social pleasantries quickly descend into a fierce quarrel, and before he knows it, the landowner has challenged the widow to a duel.

The Wedding takes place at the marriage feast of Aplombov and his bride Dasha. A group of eccentrics has gathered for the party, and their squabbles quickly reduce the celebration into pandemonium.

Anton's health, meanwhile, has deteriorated, and his doctors move him to a spa in northern Germany, where Olga hurries to join him.

September 1, 1902 Yalta

My dear, my own,
Once again I have had a strange letter from you. Once again you hurl all sorts of accusations at my head. Who has told you that I don't want to go back to Moscow, that I have gone away for good and am not coming back this autumn? Didn't I write to you in plain Russian, that I would definitely be coming back in September and would live with you til December. Well, didn't I? You accuse me of not being frank, yet you forget everything I write or say to you. And I simply can't imagine what I am to do with my wife, or how I should write to her.
You write that you tremble when you read my letters, that it is time for us to part, that there is something you don't understand in all this. It strikes me, my darling, that neither I nor you are to blame for all this muddle, but someone else with whom you have been talking...You write that I am capable of living beside you and always being silent, that I only want you as an agreeable woman and that as a human being you are isolated and a stranger to me. My sweet, good darling, you are my wife, when are you finally going to understand that? You are the person nearest and dearest to me. I have loved you infinitely and I love you still and you go writing about being an agreeable woman, lonely and a stranger to me...Well then, have it your own way if you must!
I am better, but I've been coughing violently. There hasn't been any rain, and it's hot...
Write and tell me what you're doing, what parts are you playing, which new ones you're rehearsing. You are not lazy like your husband, are you?...I love you more than ever and as a husband I have been blameless. Why can't you finally understand that my joy, my scribble-scrabble?
Good-bye for the present, keep well and cheerful. Write to me every day without fail. I kiss you and hug you, my puppet.
Your A


... In May 1899, with spring in full flower, Chekhov invited Olga to his mother's home in the country. In her memoirs Olga recalled happily,

"We had three days filled with a sense of anticipation, with joy and sun."

Over the summer they corresponded, Chekhov addressing her with,

"Greetings, last page of my life, great actress of the Russian land."

Their relationship took a decisive turn in August, when Olga, who was staying with family friends in Yalta, traveled back to Moscow with Anton. Part of the way took them by carriage through the beautiful Kokkoz Valley. There they came to some kind of "agreement". Anton later wrote to Olga saying how he scarcely went into his beautiful Yalta garden, but sat indoors and thought of her, remembering their journey together. He wrote,

"I warmly press and kiss your hand. Be well, merry, happy, work, skip about, be enthusiastic, sing and, if possible, don't forget the retired author, your devout admirer. A. Chekhov."
Olga became his mistress in the summer of 1899, flirtation turning to a deep and sincere love. Their life was full of partings, and they were separated for long stretches. Chekhov lived n warm, dull Yalta, while Olga continued her career in glamorous but cold Moscow. However, that summer chekhov, partly through fear and partly out of consideration, was slow to propose. On August 13, Olga complained to Chekhov's devoted sister, Masha,
"Can anyone come to a decision with him?"
The following month, on September 27, Chekhov wrote defending himself,
"If we're not together now, it's not my fault or yours, but that of the devil who implanted the bacilli in me and the love of art in you."
There were many things to consider. How would marriage to Anton in far-off Yalta affect Olga's acting career? What about Masha, who had turned down offers of marriage to look after him? Would the strain of marriage, as Masha believed, be too much for Anton? Chekhov himself had an inner core of loneliness, made worse by his illness, that made him afraid of committing himself to another person. Sometimes his good-humored self-sufficiency seemed to Olga like indifference.
Eventually, however, he gave in to pressure, and they married, secretly and happily, on May 25, 1901, in Moscow. To avoid any fuss or sentimentality, Anton invited most of his friends and relatives to a dinner in Moscow, which he and Olga deliberately failed to attend. Even Masha and her mother first heard the news by telegram. In his plays and prose, Chekhov had often portrayed marriages as either comic or unhappy. Perhaps he was embarrassed to have succumbed at last, after so many years of flirtations and short affairs.
But in December 1902, he had one regret, he wrote,
"We have one fault in common, we married each other too late."

After the wedding their long separations continued. A child might have kept them together, but Olga miscarried. Then, inevitably, Chekhov's illness worsened and on July 1, 1904, he died. Olga was at his bedside. At the last, he was given champagne. Glass in hand, he smiled and said,

"It's a long while since I've drunk champagne."
He drank it, turned on his side and died moments later. A huge black moth suddenly flew in through the open window, batted wildly against the lamp, and then found its way out, leaving silence. Olga later consoled herself with the recollection:
"There was only beauty, peace and the grandeur of death."
[ how to use bilingual texts ]

Меня разбудило ощущение близкой опасности. Я открыл глаза.

Комната была полна белым ослепительным сиянием, которое мгновенно исчезло, чтобы через секунду вновь появиться. Вокруг дома свирепствовала буря. Озверевшие серые огромные тучи лезли друг на друга, изрыгая огонь и грохот. Березы в саду, согнувшись, выли от боли, поражаемые косым дождем, который от молний казался стеклянным. От вихря и грома дом так сильно дрожал, что за вздувшимися обоями осыпалась штукатурка.

И вдруг сквозь грохот разрушавшегося неба я услышал протяжный, мычащий стон...

Ухо, приложенное к стене, за которой был Чехов, подтвердило мою догадку... Стон повторился - мучительный, почти нечеловеческий, оборвавшийся не то рвотой, не то рыданьем.

Мне показалось, что Чехов умирает и что если он умрет, то это по моей вине. Себя не помня, как был, в одной рубашке и босиком, я бросился через столовую к комнате Чехова. У дверей я еще раз прислушался, стуча зубами.

Как это часто бывает в минуты ее наивысшего напряжения, гроза вдруг на мгновение остановилась. В /657/ доме стало тихо и страшно... И в этой тишине явственно были слышны сдавленные стоны, кашель и какое-то бульканье.

Я распахнул дверь и шепотом окликнул Чехова:

- Антон Павлович!

На тумбочке у кровати догорала оплывшая свеча. Чехов лежал на боку, среди сбитых простынь, судорожно скорчившись и вытянув за край кровати длинную с кадыком шею. Все его тело содрогалось от кашля... И от каждого толчка из его широко открытого рта в синюю эмалированную плевательницу, как жидкость из опрокинутой вертикально бутылки, выхаркивалась кровь...

За шумом начавшейся опять грозы Чехов меня не заметил. Я еще раз назвал его по имени.

Чехов отвалился навзничь, на подушки и, обтирая платком окровавленные усы и бороду, медленно в темноте нащупывал меня взглядом.

И тут я в желтом стеариновом свете огарка впервые увидел его глаза без пенсне. Они были большие и беспомощные, как у ребенка, с желтоватыми от желчи белками, подернутые влагой слез...

Он тихо, с трудом проговорил:

- Я мешаю... вам спать... простите... голубчик...

Ослепительный взмах за окном, и сейчас же за ним страшный удар по железной крыше заглушил его слова.

Я видел только, как под слипшимися от крови усами беззвучно шевелились его губы...

На следующий день Савва, бросив ревизовать именье, увез больного Чехова в Пермь{657}.


If I could have another life, I would stage "The Three Sisters" again. And "The Seagull" and "The Cherry Orchard"... If I would have nine lives, I wish I could direct it nine times each... If I were immortal, I would stage Chekhov forever... I am not. But he is. It will be done thousand times.

Anatoly, but the farces, the silly jokes! Why?

I call it "Small Chekhov" n "mini-chekhov"... but how brilliantly those farces are done! What a writing!

Chekhov's Letters online *

(Big) Plays: Latrec Visual style of "chekhov.05" -- from Latrec to German Expressionism?

Music -- polkas, as in circus.

Not a "period piece," not this decadence before WWI.

My "American Chekhov" -- pop-culture is the triumph of vulgarity!

Mass-society under the name of "democracy"?

Post-AmeriKa Files (quotes)

100 years later -- the post-humans.

Amazon list : anton chekhov
polka1.mid [midi UAF show ] Chekhov Now : Schiele-Face
American Theater Web Logo
Choose theaters or shows
and enter a keyword to search