Next Week, “Uncle Vanya” will be performed under the auspices of UMS (more on this to come). It is a tricky and complex plot that baffles a lot of people. So getting to know its writer, Anton Chekhov, might help in our comprehension or at least make us accept the difficulty of the plot for what it is and understand why it was intended thus.
Chekhov, hailed to be among the greatest short-story writers of all time by many, was a highly cerebral artist who started writing in his spare time while training to be a physician, actually in order to make money. He continued to do so but didn’t pay much attention to writing as an art until Grigorovich, another eminent Russian writer told him that he had true talent.
Chekhov started to pay more attention to his writing and always tried to experiment and depart from the road well trodden. His stories are tedious and it was Chekhov’s conviction that a true artist raises questions that didn’t exist and it was not his onus to solve those issues. His views in his plays and stories are definitely worth a read.
At the Ann Arbor District Library (Downtown branch) this monday evening, Michael Makin, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Residential College Drama Lecturer Katherine Mendeloff will examine Chekhov’s role in Russian literature and society and as transformer and innovator of Russian drama. There will be a discussion specifically around the play “Uncle Vanya” and parts of it will be acted out by U of M students.
When I saw Prof Mendeloff’s name on the program, I knew I had seen it somewhere. I thought hard before I realised that she is the one of the key forces behind the Shakespeare in the Arb series! Every summer, a Shakespearen play is enacted at the Nichol’s arboretum and Kate Mendeloff directs the plays.
I remember attending “Twelfth Night” last summer. It suddenly started pouring and as the brave actors still got on with the show, she was with them till the end, a bit drenched though. I thought that it was so nice of the director to be through it all. Also, her direction of the plays are awesome too. It will be a treat to listen to her.
So, to summarize,
What: Who is Anton Chekhov?
Where: Downtown Library (AADL), Multi-purpose room (visit www.aadl.org for directions to the downtown library)
When: Monday, March 22, 2010, 7 pm to 8.30 pm
$$: Admission FREE!
Chekhov is said to have been among the first to use stream-of-consciousness techniques in his works. Interested to know what that is all about? See you at the AADL then !
Krithika, for [art]seen