Published to tie in with the world premiere at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin In Chekhov's tragi-comedy - perhaps his most popular play - the Gayev family is torn by powerful forces, forces rooted deep in history and in the society around them. Their estate is hopelessly in debt: urged to cut down their beautiful cherry orchard and sell the land for holiday cottages, they struggle to act decisively. Tom Murphy's fine vernacular version allows us to re-imagine the events of the play in the last days of Anglo-Irish colonialism. It gives this great play vivid new life within our own history and social consciousness.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in 1860 in Taganrog, a
port in southern Russia. His father was a former serf. In 1879, after
receiving a classical education at the Taganrog Gymnasium, he
moved to Moscow to study medicine. During his university years he
helped support his family by writing stories and sketches for
humorous magazines. By 1888 he was contributing to Russia's most
prestigious literary journals and regarded as a major writer. He also
started writing plays: his first full-length play, Ivanov, was produced
in 1887. After undertaking a journey to visit the penal colony on the
Siberian island of Sakhalin in 1890, he settled on a country estate
outside Moscow, where he continued to write and practise medicine.
His failing health forced him to move to Yalta in 1898, where he
wrote his most famous short story, 'The Lady with the Little Dog'
(1899), and two of his best-known plays: Three Sisters (1901) and
The Cherry Orchard (1904), written with Stanislavsky's Moscow Art
Theatre in mind. In 1901 he married the company's leading actress,
Olga Knipper. He died from tuberculosis in Badenweiler, Germany,
in July 1904 at the age of 44.