Anton Chekhov: A Life in Four Acts

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9781575257877: Anton Chekhov: A Life in Four Acts

"Anton Chekhov: A Life in Four Acts" is the first work of its kind to focus solely on Chekhov's remarkable life in the theatre, telling the story in his own voice (through his letters) as well as providing biographical narrative. It is an essential resource for theatre artists, educators, students, audience members and those who seek to discover the mysteries of his extraordinary plays.

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About the Author:

Carol Rocamora is an educator, author and theatre critic. Her translations of the complete dramatic works of Anton Chekhov have been published in three volumes by Smith & Kraus. Her play I take your hand in mine..., inspired by the correspondence between Chekhov and Olga Knipper, premiered at the Almeida Theatre in London and the Theatre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, directed by Peter Brook. She is also the author of the biography Acts of Courage: Vaclav Havel s Life in the Theatre. She serves on the faculty of New York University s Tisch School of the Arts and Columbia University s MFA Theatre Arts Program. She is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

Review:

Rocamora (from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York U. and the MFA Theatre Arts Program at Columbia U.) combines biographical narrative of the life of famed playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) with translated excerpts of his correspondence, including any "section or passage that [she thought] would illuminate his life as a playwright and the world of his plays," as well as selections pertaining to other aspects of his life, such as his work as a doctor, his romantic life, his life in the countryside, and his struggle with illness. (Annotation ©2013 Book News Inc. Portland, OR) --Book News, Inc.

In Anton Chekhov: A Life in Four Acts, we learn about a very human Anton Chekhov through the passionate pen of Carol Rocamora; her lucid translations of his many letters and in-depth insights of how his life progressed bring us close to him, and delve inside his head and heart as an artist and thinker. Wonderful pictures of the playwright, which the author discovered on her journey to Russia in the photo archives of the Moscow Art Theatre, punctuate each chapter. Act 1 is entitled Taganrog; it focuses on his childhood in a provincial home town. Act 2 takes place in Moscow; there he became a doctor and blossomed as a writer from 1880 to 1889. Act 3 is named Melikhovo, the Dacha where he lived from 1890 to 1899 and wrote The Seagull and Vanya. He moved there after a 6,000 mile courageous humanitarian journey to the Island of Sakhalin, where he remained for three months studying and writing about its infamous penal colony. Act 4 is set in Yalta; sent there for his failing health to this warmer climate, he built a home, farmed and fished and wrote, and even practiced medicine, helping poor people, yet all the while pining for civilization.
Dr. Rocamora, the author, is remarkable in her own right. A theater critic and member of the Outer Critics Circle, she teaches at the Tisch School for the Arts at NYU and in the MFA Theatre Arts Program program at Columbia University. Her translation of the complete dramatic works of Anton Chekhov has been published by Smith & Kraus. Her poignant play, I Take Your hand in Mine...which is based on love letters between Olga Knipper and Anton Chekhov, premiered at the Almeida Theatre in London and the Theatre des bouffes du Nord in Paris, directed by Peter Brook. Her lively translation of Ivanov was used in the recent stellar production at the Classic Stage Company and earned kudos. She is also the author of "Acts of Courage: Vaclav Havel's Life in the Theatre.
At the end, after suffering, Chekhov died in Badenweiler, a spa town in Germany, with his devoted wife by his side; it was late on July 2, which happens to be my birthday. Reading those last pages, I truly felt I had lost a dear friend. --Connecticut Critics' Circle

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Carol Rocamora
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Rocamora, Carol
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