Anton Chekhov once told his friend and fellow writer Ivan Bunin that he thought people might read his work for another seven years. “Why seven?” Bunin asked. “Maybe seven and a half,” Chekhov replied, “Which isn’t bad. I’ve got maybe six years to live.” This prediction proved to be just a tad on the modest side because a century after his death his name is instantly recognized as one of the world’s great playwrights and the master of the modern short story.
Here's what MTC Artistic Director Steven Schipper has to say about selecting Russian playwright Anton Chekhov for this year's festival:
“MTC co-founder John Hirsch was almost evangelical about Chekhov. He shared his passion for the Russian playwright with his adopted city, producing a Chekhov play almost every year at MTC. When Hirsch left, Chekhov largely faded from our city’s stages, but zone41 theatre and Theatre Projects Manitoba have sparked a welcome resurgence, with Bruce McManus’s adaptation of The Three Sisters and with a reading of Michel Nadeau’s And Slowly Beauty, a theatrical love letter to Chekhov’s power. They’ve reminded us why Chekhov is important for Winnipeggers. His characters share our flat, northern geography and the way we’re torn between the urban and the rural. Most importantly, there’s his celebration of humanity: Chekhov traps his characters in funny, sad lives that somehow point the way to the audience’s own joyous freedom.”
For more information, check out a short video produced by the UK's National Theatre titled "An Introduction to Anton Chekhov".
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