What do Swan Song, The Bear, The Proposal, The Wedding, and The Harmfulness of Tobacco have in common? They are all one-act comedies written by Anton Chekhov that will be performed by the Alley’s Resident Acting Company and directed by the Tony-Award winning playwright and legendary director Richard Nelson. Acclaimed Russian literature translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky collaborated with Nelson to create a new English translation which will make for an extraordinary theatre experience.
This production of Little Comedies by Anton Chekhov is both an experiment and a celebration. An experiment because these short plays are usually produced as short farces or even one-note jokes. However, it is our hope that we can present them, as one would Chekhov’s great plays, where characters struggle, are lost, unaware, scared – and are always recognizably human, and so like us. The ‘comedy’ of these ‘comedies’ then, is that of being profoundly human. As for the celebration, this production honors Alley’s wonderful acting company. These five plays, newly translated by Larissa Volkhonsky and Richard Pevear (the foremost translators of Russian literature into English alive today) and myself, were commissioned expressly for the Alley acting company, which has become the last standing acting company in the American non-profit theater. These actors and the company’s continued survival is well worth a celebration.
- Alley Theatre, Houston, TX