Chekhov and the Vaudeville: A Study of Chekhov's One-Act Plays by Vera Gottlieb
This book examines the strangely neglected area of Chekhov's one-act plays and the evolution of his comedy techniques. These short pieces, written between 1885 and 1903, reveal many of the comic and distancing effects which are to be found in the major plays. Still frequently performed, they tell us as much about Chekhov's philosophy as his use of theatre, and justify his view of himself as a writer of comedies. Vera Gottlieb describes the playwright's approach to theatre in the light of contemporary Russian traditions: a succinct resume of French comedy and vaudeville on the Russian stage provides the background for an interesting assessment of the degree of innovation in Chekhov's one-act plays. Russian sources have been used extensively, while an appendix includes new translations of two little-known theatre sketches by Chekhov. This 1982 book is a vital addition to criticism of Chekhov and the Russian stage.