Archive | February, 2012


Chekhov’s Overcoat

A French Russophile coined the famous quote, “We all come out from Gogol’s overcoat,” and Nikolai Gogol likely had an influence on Chekhov, born 50 years after the realist pioneer. But it is Chekhov’s overcoat – or, perhaps, his iconic pince-nez – from under which modern drama originally emerged, at least according to The New […]


100th Post: High Times

In this 100th blog post, I’m pleased to find a timely reference to my own past. Acrobatics runs in my family and I did gymnastics as a child, though never quite like the above. The New York Times marks the passing of the last World War I veteran, a 110-year-old woman who served on the […]


Friday Fun: Chekhov on Biography

Around 1892, journal editor V.A. Tikhonov wrote to request some biographical information from Anton Chekhov, and the author’s reply appears in Janet Malcolm’s 2001 book, Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey: Do you need my biography? Here it is. In 1860 I was born in Taganrog. In 1879 I finished my studies in the Taganrog school. […]


Quotable: Meryl Streep

Streep delivered this thoughtful, moving commencement address at Barnard in 2010, and she spoke with Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross this week. Here’s an excerpt from Monday’s interview in which Streep discusses her experience filming The Iron Lady and the need for minimal yet transformative makeup: It’s not about the audience. It’s all about fooling the […]


1962/1981: The Cherry Orchard

A clip from the BBC staged 1962 production of The Cherry Orchard with Peggy Ashcroft as Liubóv Ranyévskaya, Judi Dench as Anya, Dorothy Tutin as Varya and John Gielgud as Gáyev. Another clip from the BBC’s 1981 production with Judi Dench now playing Liubóv Ranyévskaya, Frederick Treves as Gáyev, Suzanne Burden as Anya and Paul […]


1904: The Cherry Orchard

Is there any production of The Cherry Orchard that has managed to satisfactorily resolve, in the author’s favor, the initial disagreement between Moscow Art Theatre director Constantin Stanislavski and Anton Chekhov? Stanislavski, on seeing the completed play script sometime in 1903, called the play a tragedy. Chekhov insisted that it was a comedy, even a […]