Discover Chekhov as you’ve never known him before—the brash young playwright who made his fame and fortune with sparkling vaudevilles that brilliantly lampooned conventional society. Robert Brustein has taken three of his most popular comedies and linked them with excerpts from the playwright’s poignant, romantic love letters and scenes from his life. You’ll laugh in recognition at the age-old rituals of love, courtship, and marriage in this effervescent flight of farces.
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.
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Adapted from the life and works of Anton Chekhov by
Adapted from the life and works of Anton Chekhov by
1927 – 2023
As founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theaters, Robert Brustein supervised well over two hundred productions, acting in eight and directing twelve. He wrote eleven adaptations for the American Repertory Theater and was the author of many books on theater and society. Mr. Brustein also served for twenty years as director of the Loeb Drama Center, was a Professor in Harvard’s English Department, was a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University, and drama critic for The New Republic. He was inducted as a member in to the American Theatre Hall of Fame, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received numerous awards including the George Polk Award in Journalism, the Commonwealth (Massachusetts) Award for Organizational Leadership, and the Eugene O’Neill Foundation’s Tao House Award for serving the American theater with distinction, and the National Medal of the Arts.
At A.R.T., his produciton of Six Characters in Search of an Author won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production of 1996. His play Demons, which was broadcast on WGBH radio in 1993, had its stage world premiere as part of the A.R.T. New Stages. His play Nobody Dies on Friday was given its world premiere in the same series and was presented at the Singapore Festival of Arts and the Pushkin Theatre in Moscow. His play Spring Forward, Fall Back was performed in 2006 at Theater J in Washington, D.C., and at the Vineyard Playhouse; The English Channel was produced in 2007 in Boston and at the Vineyard Playhouse, and played at the Abingdon Theatre in the fall of 2008, receiving a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize.
Brustein also wrote Shlemiel the First, based on the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer and set to traditional klezmer music, which was directed and choreographed by David Gordon. After the original presentation in 1994 at A.R.T. and in Philadelphia at the American Music Theatre Festival, which co-produced the show, Shlemiel the First was revived several times in Cambridge and subsequently played at the Lincoln Center Serious Fun Festival, the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and toured theaters in Florida and in Stamford, Connecticut. The play has also been produced at Theater J in Washington, DC. His short plays Poker Face, Chekhov on Ice, Divestiture, AnchorBimbo, Noises, Terrorist Skit, Airport Hell, Beachman’s Last Poetry Reading, and Enter William Shakespeare were all presented by the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Brustein was also the author of Doctor Hippocrates Is Out: Please Leave a Message, an anthology of theatrical and cinematic satire on medicine and physicians, commissioned by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement for its 2008 convention in Nashville.
Brustein served as a Professor of English at Harvard University, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University in Boston, drama critic for The New Republic, and former dean of the Yale School of Drama. In 2003 he served as a Senior Fellow with the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, and in 2004 and 2005 was a senior fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts’ Arts Journalism Institute in Theatre and Musical Theatre at the University of Southern California.
He was the Founding Director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theater and served for twenty years as director of the Loeb Drama Center, where he founded the American Repertory Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. He retired from the artistic directorship of A.R.T. in 2002 and subsequently served as Founding Director and Creative Consultant.
During his tenure at A.R.T., Brustein wrote eleven adaptations, including Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, The Master Builder, and When We Dead Awaken, the last directed by Robert Wilson; Three Farces and a Funeral, adapted from the works and life of Anton Chekhov; Luigi Pirandello’s Enrico IV; and Brustein’s final production at A.R.T., Lysistrata by Aristophanes, directed by Andrei Serban. He also directed numerous adaptations while at A.R.T. including a Pirandello trilogy: Six Characters in Search of an Author, which won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production of 1996, Right You Are (If You Think You Are) and Tonight We Improvise; as well as Ibsen’s Ghosts, Strindberg’s The Father, and Thomas Middleton’s The Changeling.
Over the course of his long career as director, playwright, and teacher, he participated in the artistic development of such theater artists as Meryl Streep, Christopher Durang, Christopher Walken, Cherry Jones, Ted Talley, Michael Feingold, Sigourney Weaver, James Naughton, Mark Linn-Baker, Henry Winkler, James Lapine, Tony Shalhoub, Tommy Derrah, Rocco Landesman, Linda Lavin, Michael Yearga, William Ivey Long, Derek Maclane, Steve Zahn, Peter Sellars, Santo Loquasto, Tom Moore, Albert Innaurato, and many others.
Mr. Brustein was the recipient of many distinguished awards, including:
- Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Nottingham
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
- Twice winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism
- George Polk Award for Journalism (Criticism)
- The 2nd Elliot Norton Award For Professional Excellence in Boston Theatre (formerly the Norton Prize), presented by the Boston Theatre District Association
- New England Theatre Conference’s Major Award for outstanding creative achievement in the American theatre
- American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts
- Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters
- Association for Theatre in Higher Education Career Achievement Award for Professional Theatre
- The Commonwealth Award for Organizational Leadership
- Inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame
- United States Institute for Theatre Technology Lifetime Achievement Award
- National Corporate Theatre Fund Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Theatre
- Gann Academy Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts
- Eugene O’Neill Foundation’s Tao House Award for serving the American theatre with distinction
- National Medal of the Arts
- Players Club Hall of Fame
Yuri Yeremin is the director of Three Farces and a Funeral and Ivanov and acting/directing instructor in the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. Mr. Yeremin is one Russia's leading directors and master teachers of acting and directing. As Artistic Director of the Central Soviet Army Theatre (1981–1987) and current Artistic Director of Moscow Pushkin Theatre (since 1987), he has directed a number of productions, including The Idiot and The Possessed by Dostoevsky, The Old Man by Gorky, Ward No. 6 by Chekhov, The Inspector General by Gogol, Madame Bovary by Flaubert, and Paper Nickelodeon by Chervinsky. His production of Ward No. 6 has toured extensively all through Europe, the United States, and Canada and was a part of the New York International Theatre Festival. Mr. Yeremin has directed and lectured throughout Europe and the United States, where he directed at the Hartford Stage Company and participated in the O'Neill Theatre Center Program in Waterford, Connecticut. His 1997 production of Shelter—based on Gorky's Lower Depths—at the American Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre was regarded among the best productions of the season. He is the recipient of several high awards for artistic excellence, including Russian and French decorations and the title of People's Artist of Russia.
Set design by
Set design by
A.R.T.: Over twenty productions, including most recently, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Jagged Little Pill, The White Card, Arrabal, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Prometheus Bound, Best of Both Worlds, The Seagull, Julius Caesar, Britannicus, and Marat/Sade. Broadway: Indecent, The Gin Game; The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess; The People in the Picture; Caroline, or Change, National Theatre London; Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, Old Vic; Topdog/Underdog, Royal Court; Bells Are Ringing; Parade (directed by Hal Prince, Tony, Drama Desk nominations); Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, The Tempest. Recent productions include: Dreaming Zenzile, Light Shining…, NYTW; The Skin of Our Teeth, TFANA; The Invisible Hand (Henry Hewes Design Award); Red Speedo (Drama Desk Nomination); Grounded (directed by Julie Taymor). International: Théâtre du Châtelet, Avignon (Cour d’honneur Palais des Papes); Oslo, National Theatre; Abbey Theatre. Recipient, Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Design. Hernández is an Associate Professor and Co-Chair of the Yale School of Drama.
Lighting Designer John Ambrosone has designed over thirty productions for the American Repertory Theater, including Lysistrata, Absolution, Marat/Sade, Othello, Animals and Plants, Mother Courage (2001 Elliot Norton Design Award), The Doctor's Dilemma, Three Farces and a Funeral, Nocturne, Ivanov, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The King Stag, Boston Marriage, Charlie in the House of Rue, Valparaiso, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, How I Learned to Drive, Nobody Dies on Friday, Man and Superman, The Old Neighborhood, When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), Alice in Bed, Slaughter City, and Buried Child. On Broadway he designed The Old Neighborhood. Work in resident theaters includes the Alley Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Walnut Street Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, and Arena Stage. Mr. Ambrosone also has designed in Singapore, Moscow, Japan, Brazil, Taiwan, Mexico, Germany, and France.
Sound design by
Sound design by
Sound designs by David Remedios have been heard in Sexual Perversity in Chicago/The Duck Variations, Romance, Trojan Barbie, Endgame, The Seagull, The Communist Dracula Pageant, Let Me Down Easy, When It’s Hot It’s Cole, Cardenio, Julius Caesar, Copenhagen, Donnie Darko, A Marvelous Party, No Man's Land, Oliver Twist, Britannicus, The Onion Cellar, The Island of Slaves, Orpheus X, Romeo and Juliet, No Exit, Three Sisters (2005), The Keening, Amerika, Olly's Prison, Desire Under the Elms, Dido Queen of Carthage, The Provok'd Wife (original music and sound), The Miser, A Midsummer Night's Dream (2003), Snow in June, Lady with a Lapdog, The Sound of a Voice, Pericles, Highway Ulysses, Uncle Vanya, Lysistrata, Absolution, Marat/Sade, Stone Cold Dead Serious, Enrico IV, Othello, Animals and Plants, The Doctor's Dilemma, Mother Courage and Her Children, Three Farces and a Funeral, Antigone, Nocturne, How I Learned to Drive, and Man and Superman. He has also toured regionally and internationally with the A.R.T. Other credits include Farragut North and Yankee Tavern (Contemporary American Theater Festival), The Merchant of Venice (Actor’s Shakespeare Project), Ah, Wilderness! (CenterStage Baltimore), The Diary of Anne Frank (New Rep), The Scottish Play (La Jolla Playhouse), Leap (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Daughter of Venus, Action Jesus and Dressed Up! Wigged Out! (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), Sideways Stories from Wayside School, All of a Kind Family and The Fabulous Invalid (Emerson Stage), Samson Agonistes (92nd St. Y), Our Town (Boston Theatre Works), Far East (Vineyard Playhouse), Only You (Efron Entertainment). Dance soundscapes include works for Concord Academy Dance, Snappy Dance Theater Company, and Lorraine Chapman. Awards: 2007 Connecticut Critics Circle Award (No Exit, Hartford Stage), 2001 Elliot Norton Award (Mother Courage and Her Children, A.R.T.), seven Independent Reviewers of New England Award nominations.
|Stephen Chubukov, a landowner
|Natasha, his daughter
|Ivan Lomov, Chubukov’s landowning neighbor
|Vanya, a groom
|Masha, a housekeeper
|Tracker, Lomov’s dog
|Treasure, Chubukov’s dog
|Madam Yelena Popov, a widow
|Karen MacDonald, Myriam Cyr, Roslyn S. Ruff, Jennifer Black, Frances Chewning, Sarah Isenberg, Anne Goldfeld
|Will Lebow, Ken Cheeseman, Trey Burvant, Gerardo Rodriguez, Tim Kang, Douglass Bowen Flynn, Gladdy Matteosian
|Luka, Madam Popov’s manservant
|Yevdokim Gonov, a minor civil servant
|Nastasya, his wife
|Masha, their daughter
|Epaminondas Pomponov, her fiance
|Andryusha Dribbelov, town clerk
|Mrs. Anna Snakina
|Myriam Cyr, Roslyn S. Ruff, Jennifer Black
|Ivan Yatz, telegraph clerk
|Kharlampy Marshmallopolis, a Greek
|Dmitry Marinin, a sailor
|Master of Ceremonies
|Douglass Bowen Flynn
|Chekhov on Ice
|Man in Black
|Misha Aster, Darrin Browne