- Expected Apr 22, 2021
What can you learn about love and life from one of the greatest plays of all time, written by one of the greatest writers of all time, who also happened to define modern theater as we know it?
“…Many conversations about literature, little action, and five poods [181 pounds] of love.” That is how Anton Chekhov described his comedy, in which Medvedenko loves Masha, Masha loves Treplev, Treplev loves Nina, and Nina loves Trigorin, all while Shamrayev loves Polina Andreyevna, Polina Andreyevna loves Dorn, Dorn loves Arkadina, and Arkadina loves Trigorin. The situation becomes less comedic for a short period of time when two of these characters fall in love with each other, but “the circumstances have unexpectedly made it so that” this arcadia doesn’t last too long. There is little action in the play, other than the characters living their lives: some suffering from the creative process, some searching for fame, some desperately trying to live, some constantly attempting to end their own life or challenging others to a duel, all while new art forms are struggling to co-exist with the old… and—did we forget?—everybody is looking for love…
Translated by a Russian director and actor, who also happens to be an attorney in New York, this dramatic translation is deeply rooted in insights from his ongoing work on his own theatrical production (https://theseagullnyc.com) as director and on the character of Trigorin as actor. Many textual and visual elements and clues that are essential to the story and character interpretation are presented in English language for the first time. The book includes online access to additional materials, including the translator and director’s selected notes, audio and video resources (https://theseagullnyc.com/book).
Ч, the service and trade mark that we use for The Seagull-related endeavors, is both a letter in the Russian alphabet and a number.
The letter, pronounced as [ch] or [tch], is the first letter of the following relevant words in Russian:
• the playwright’s family name
• the play’s name [cháika]
• the family name of the composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, a contemporary and friend of Chekhov, whose music is used extensively in the theatrical production
• the word for the number four [chetýre]
The number symbolizes:
• the four acts
• the four seasons corresponding to each of the four acts
• the four characters, whose lives intertwine the most
"A new translation of Chekhov’s The Seagull pulses with an artist’s sensitivity... A nuanced, aching Seagull, attentive to the rhythms and melody of Chekhov’s own language, but unfussily direct in its English. Korenev’s version emphasizes its Russian-ness, right down to Chekhov’s insistence that this study of disappointment and suicide qualifies as comedy."—BookLife Reviews, Editor's Pick
"Anton Korenev's refreshing translation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull reveals the heart of the nineteenth-century story to a modern audience."—Foreword Clarion Reviews, Five-star Review
"Literature readers and drama students alike will appreciate the details and care that have gone into this translation, and will find that it stands out as a solid piece of literary research, language interpretation, and drama that, more so than many, captures the intention, nuances, and feel of Chekhov's writing."—D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review