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Linkmeister

"The play will not be tweeted"

Methinks you're channeling the spirit of the late Gil Scott-Heron.

"The revolution will not be televised."

Dave

Lopakhin a villain?! Lance, what have you been smoking? Lopakhin is the only admirable character in the whole play. Unlike every other character in the canon (Natasha Prozorova excepted), he is proactive, works, and gets exactly what he wants.

Even then, he spends 75% of the play telling Ranevskaya -exactly- what she should do to retain control of the orchard before he realizes how hopeless it is and decides to take action himself.

If any character in all of his plays is a mouthpiece of Chekhov, it's Lopakhin -- "Get off your asses and do something,!" he tells the audience.

As for Mamet and Chekhov, I'll admit his "Cherry Orchard" is pretty good; it manages to be true to both writers at once. His other adaptations? "Vanya" is weak, and "The Three Sisters" is downright terrible. (I've translated the latter and "The Sea Gull" myself, so I have a pretty good idea of what Chekhov intended.)

actor212

Ironically, I've also done The Seagull... :-)

Longest run of my career. Two years, as I recall. Playing Simon was...interesting. He really was antithetical to who I believed myself to be.

actor212

Dave, I have to agree with Lance on this: a nice guy doesn't gloat about buying the estate that his grandfather was once a slave on. There's a mean streak to Lopakhin, a resentment, despite his outwardly warm feelings towards Ranevsky. The whole idea of clearing the orchard to make room for cottages is not exactly a helpful suggestion, in my opinion.

I've never performed that play, so I'm not sure how this would have manifested on stage, but playing Chekov is like stepping into a shark tank.

Lance Mannion

Dave, usual shit, but I think my dealer has a new supplier. You're right about Lopakhin but...conventionally and dramatically he is in the position of the villain, he isn't likable, and we aren't meant to think his solution is at all ideal. And I did say he's a villain only "as much as Chekhov allowed any character to be seen as an out and out villain." I could have also said "Ranevskya is a heroine only as much as Chekhov allowed any character to be seen as heroic." That's the thing about Chekhov, he's on everybody's side and on nobody's side. Which reminds me, The Duel is out on DVD! It's probably closer to accurate to call Lopakhin the antagonist. Whatever he is, I think Turturro's perfect for the part.

Are your translations available to buy/read, Dave?

Dave

I'll stipulate to his being the antagonist and that there are no sides in a Chekhov play. But I also don't see Lopakhin's rant as gloating; it's joy and amazement over now owning the estate where his family had been enslaved.

My favorite adaptation of Chekhov may be "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine." There's something about the manic energy of the Marx Brothers that blends well with the emotional
extremes and humor of the good doctor.

The translations aren't published, but I can send them your way if you're interested.

Lance Mannion

actor212, TWO YEARS????????

Dave, if you're cool with it, I'd like to read them.

That speech of L's decides things. It's up to the director and/or the actor to make him a "villain" or something else right there.

Which reminds me, Mamet hates method acting. Hates it! Hates it! Hates it! And of course Stanislavski was Chekhov's fist great interpreter for the the stage. Not sure that means anything, but it's interesting to note.

Dave

Well, Chekhov wasn't exactly thrilled with Stanislavski's directorial methods. There's the story about the actor asking Chekhov what kind of a man (I think it's) Lopakhin is, and all he would tell him is that he was the sort of man who wore yellow shoes.

When I went to the Novo-Devichy in Moscow, I was delighted to see that Chekhov and Stanislavsky are buried virtually head-to-head, so they can argue through eternity.

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