The actress Arkadina, her writer lover Trigorin, watch a show by Treplyov,
Arkadina’s son. It stars Nina, Treplyov’s love interest. Arkadina makes fun of the play
and Treplyov, wanting to be a serious writer, stops the performance and storms off. He
attempts suicide. Nina becomes infatuated with Trigorin and follows him when he and
Arkadina return to Moscow. She is hoping to become an actress and has an affair with
Trigorin. Masha (family estate manager’s daughter) loves Treplyov but marries
Medvenko, the schoolmaster. Two years later, Nina returns. Was impregnated by
Trigorin, life in shambles. Treployv thinks they could start a new life, but she leaves. He
tries again to commit suicide.
Lots of subtext
: Meta-theatre, money, love, meaning of life, the changing times and
subsequently, being left behind.
: Grandson of a freed serf, he worked hard to maintain his family financially.
He finished medical school but never practiced. Died very young of TB. Hugely
influential in psychological realism and the blending of genres
Realistic, indirect action, not much takes place onstage and yet all is lost.
Lots of subtext.
Act a Lady/Hamlet- play within a play
: When first performed, this play was a total failure for many reasons. It took the
Moscow Art Theatre a full year to convince Chekhov to let them do it.
Mother Courage & Her Children Bertolt Brecht
: Mother Courage, with her three children, travels in a wagon selling things to the
soldiers in war. The oldest son is conscripted into the army against his mother’s wishes.
The younger son becomes the payroll boy for his honesty for the army. The older son was
praised by the general for stealing cattle to feed the army, but is reprimanded for the same
act later and is killed. Then, the other side approaches and MC takes down her flag, a
preacher gets caught with her and they have to pretend not to be Catholic. The younger
son tries to run away with the payroll and get it back to the Catholics, but he is caught.
MC has to pretend not to know him to save the rest of hr family, even when he’s killed.
MC tries to save him by raising money, almost sells her wagon, but doesn’t and he dies.
Near end, MC is off to sell her things while she can get a good price (thought war was
about to end) and army nearby, ready to attack unsuspecting city. Daughter climbs to roof
and beats drum to warn the city, it works but she is shot and killed. There seems to be no
end to the war.
Intercut with lots of poetry/songs that seem a bit out of place!
: Anti-war and the waste of it all.
Protestant mother and Catholic father, worked as a hospital orderly in 1918,
studied medicine but wrote often. Very idealistic, against war, aso wanted to remake
German theatre from within. Exiled during Hitler’s reign, so traveled to many countries.