Synopsis and Impressions of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" - A masterpiece play from Chekhov's last years!

The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters Masterpieces by the great Russian writer Chekhov

Synopsis of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" - Chekhov's last great play.

Chekhov (1860-1904)Wikipedia.

The Cherry Orchard" was Chekhov's last play, performed in 1904.

I read "The Cherry Orchard," translated by Kiyoshi Kannishi, Shinchosha, in "The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters.

We will look at the endpaper commentary on this work as soon as possible.

The Cherry Orchard" was conceived in the summer of 1902, when Chekhov was forty-two years old, and written in the fall of 1900. It was on Chekhov's 44th birthday that the Moscow Art Theatre performed it. It also marked the celebration of Chekhov's 25 years of writing, but Chekhov was too ill to continue to stand on the stage of the theater, which was already so beautiful.

Chekhov died five months later.

Shinchosha, Kiyoshi Kannishi translation, "The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters," p. 251-252

As you can see here, this is Chekhov's last work. Chekhov died shortly after the publication of this work.

Then let's look at the synopsis of this work.

The Cherry Orchard" marks the culmination of a new phase in theater, depicting the melancholy of an aristocratic class forced to give up their ancestral lands because they have become lost in dreams of a glamorous past without understanding the rapidly changing reality, and disappearing like a sunset.

Shinchosha, Kiyoshi Kannishi translation of "The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters" back cover

Early on a May morning, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, Mrs. Ranevskaya's family returns from Paris for the first time in five years. They are welcomed by Mrs. Lanevskaya's brother Gaev, the neighboring landowners, and a large number of servants. The cherry orchard is to be auctioned off in three months. The old-fashioned life of a landowner is still not in a state of ruin. However, the inner life is in shambles. The human pattern of living with disparate thoughts and feelings.

In Act II, the Gaev-Lanevskaya family is finally on the verge of bankruptcy. Everyone knows it, but they all look as if they don't give a damn. The time is passing in a frenzy of spending and frenzy, and the merchant Roparkhin says, "Happy, happy people. The love between Trofimov, a university student, and Anya, the daughter of Ranevskaya - like a dream.

Act III, the day the cherry orchard is finally auctioned off. A ball is being held as if oblivious to the coming catastrophe, and the joy is fleeting. A long speech by Lopahin, a merchant, the son of a serf, who has won the cherry orchard at the auction, is so joyful that Lanevskaya blubbers. Ranevskaya shrugs her shoulders and weeps bitterly.

Act IV, the day Lanevskaya leaves her estate and leaves for Paris with the money sent by her aunt Yaroslavl. The family scatters to pieces. The end of the cherry orchard.
Some line breaks have been made.

Chikuma Shobo, Hiroshi Matsushita, Chekhov's Light and Shadow, p. 169

The Lanevskaya family is an old-fashioned landowning aristocrat. Their estate is the cherry blossom garden, which is also mentioned in the title. This estate, with its beautiful rows of cherry trees, was so dear to the Ranevskaya family that it could not be converted into money.

But they cannot keep up with the changing times.

Capitalist values began to overtake Russian society, and the landowning aristocracy began to fall. The era in which people could make a living only by owning land as in the past was already dying out. The coming era is the era of commerce and business.

However, being steeped in old values, they could not understand the change. As a result, they did not heed the advice of the serf merchant who offered to buy the cherry orchard for them on favorable terms, and they ended up losing everything in the auction.

The work depicts the mismatch between Lopahin, a practical merchant in tune with the times, and the Ranevskaya family, who just cannot abandon their old-fashioned way of thinking, and the melancholy of the loss of their precious cherry orchard as it is swallowed up by the changing times.

We will look at the endnotes again.

The Cherry Orchard" is the last of the four great plays and literally Chekhov's last work, but it should no longer need to be reiterated that the world of this play is likewise composed of both tragic and comic elements.

It is well known that Chekhov surprised the members of the Art Troupe by calling this play a comedy, but the question is which of two themes is to be chosen: parting with the past or starting for the future.

The parting with the past is always sad in the emotions of human life, while the departure for the future is always full of dreams. The present, which is caught between the past and the future, is seen by Chekhov in his later years as a rough, coarse, and vulgar figure.

In this play, the past is represented by Madame Ranevskaya and her brother Gaev, the present by the merchant Lopakhin, the son of a serf, and the future by Anya, Madame Ranevskaya's daughter, and Trofimov, a university student.
Some line breaks have been made.

Shinchosha, Kiyoshi Kannishi translation, "The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters," p. 249-250

In my personal opinion, "The Cherry Orchard" was the most readable and memorable of the four major plays.

The contrast between the carefree country aristocrat who is being left behind by the times and the pragmatic merchant Lopahin is a true testament to Chekhov's ability.

There is an exchange between the two that has a somewhat sad atmosphere, but is certainly somewhat comical.

Even when I read the book, I could feel the unique pauses and lingering moments. It made me wonder how much of an impact it would have if I could see this in a play.

Finally, we would like to look at the commentary on "The Cherry Orchard" by Chekhov scholar Seiro Sato. It is a bit long, but it is a very important point in understanding this work, which is the culmination of Chekhov's plays, so I will quote from it.

Bunin argues that the protagonist of The Cherry Orchard is "atime of -Vremya.I said it was "time. In fact, it is "time" that determines the fate of the Cherry Orchard, and the characters' personalities are tightly linked to how they perceive that "time.

In ancient Russia, the year was calledsummerleta (mixture of butter and flour used to make sauces)(season of shimeji) and "winterzimmerThe season was divided into "snow season" (snow season), and it is still divided into "snow season" (snow season).summerleta (mixture of butter and flour used to make sauces)The plural genitive case rate of "ס" represents a "year". This is because the harvest of the year takes place during the summer.

The Cherry Orchard" makes full use of that precious summer. It begins one morning in May, when the white cherry blossoms are in bloom, and ends one morning in October, when the air begins to cool. As usual, Chekhov begins this play with the arrival of Lanevskaya and ends it with her departure. It is a very neat framework.

Fragments of human life are expanded within this framework, and the drama of a country estate in transitional Russia is followed by the drama of human beings in general, which could have occurred anywhere.

It is safe to say that there is no one who discusses Chekhov's plays who does not focus on these arrivals and departures. (omitted).

The novel "The Peasant" also clearly begins with an arrival and ends with a departure, and in "Duel," "Suguri," "On Love," "The House with a Mezzanine Floor," etc., we can see thatapplication,,See the

In particular, the mastery of the quiet narration at the beginning and end of the so-called trilogy ("Suguri," "On Love," and "The Man in the Box"), just before turning his mind to the dramatic work, and that framework cannot fail to have an influence on the dramatic work.

That framework works just like a picture frame. If a play is basically structured in such a way that it starts from an equilibrium, encounters some obstacle, and overcomes that obstacle to reach another equilibrium, then in a sense (in terms of content), every play starts with an arrival and ends with an ending.departure,,One might say that it ends with

Turgenev, who was deeply influenced by Chekhov, has already skillfully used this technique in "Father and Son" and "The Nobleman's Nest," among others.
Some line breaks have been made.

Chikuma Shobo, Seiro Sato, The World of Chekhov's Plays, p. 145

Boonin, who appears at the beginning of this article, was the first Russian Nobel Prize-winning author of literature who deeply admired Chekhov. Boonin stated that the protagonist of this work is "Time".

Sato also noted that what is noteworthy about Chekhov's plays is their framework, which begins with an arrival and ends with a departure.

Indeed, it is true that "seagull' also 'TheUncle Vanya.' also 'Thethree sistersThe composition of "The Last Time I Saw You" is also about someone coming and going.

And it was a composition that he had already used in his fiction works. In the novelman in a box' "currant' "About LoveThe short story trilogy of "The Short Story Trilogy" was also featured on this blog.

Indeed, it is clear that these trilogies were painted under similar compositions.

What was also interesting was that Chekhov was also strongly influenced by Turgenev. I was particularly surprised to learn that Turgenev's masterpieces "Father and Son" and "The Nobleman's Nest" played a major role in this work.

Now let's continue to listen to the commentary.

In the ruthless movement of "time," the characters in "The Cherry Orchard" decide their own lives and destiny along with the destiny of the cherry orchard. At first, those who are concerned about the fate of the cherry orchard, which is connected to the way they conduct themselves, gather together, and after their fate is decided, they leave scattered amidst the echoes of the axe that is mercilessly cutting them down. (omitted)

Before the ruthless "time," the old-fashioned aristocraticidealism、、、、The unrealistic and fleeting wishes of the "Mere Old Man" and "Ranevskaya" have no power at all, and the practical dedication of the "Pragmatist" Lopahin has not borne fruit.

They pine for vain wishes and attempt ineffectual resistance (if such folly can be called resistance). And then, they fall headlong down the slope of decline.

People can only live their lives according to their own individuality and outlook on life in the circumstances in which they find themselves. Chekhov, of course, preferred Lopakhin, who is active in the present, even if he is a bit ridiculous, and Anya and Trofimov, who are unknown, but have potential because of that, to Gaev and Ranevskaya, who have only desires but no actions and live as fate dictates (this cannot be denied). (This can be easily proven by his letters and other documents).

From the exhausted return of the mistress of the Cherry Blossom Country from Paris to the end of the play with the sound of the axe that cuts down the cherry tree, two melodies continue to play at the base of this play: the funny and the pathetic. The first is that of comedy and the second is that of pathos.

The "destruction" of something so beautiful is not without sorrow, even if that beauty was created at the expense of the serfs. Even if that beauty was created at the expense of the serfs. The music of the cherry orchard funeral echoes gracefully in this play, without a doubt. Even if there is criticism and laughter toward the owner.

It is not surprising that Stanislavsky was so moved by the music of the song that he wept at the beginning. Even if the author himself was trying to part from the past with laughter. There is no such thing as a dirge without a sense of melancholy.

It is sad to say goodbye to something so tightly bound to our memories. If someone were to continue watching the play laughing through the whole thing (as well as vice versa) without being moved in any way by the transformation of the world, Chekhov would pass by him without looking back, as if he were ignoring him.
Some line breaks have been made.

Chikuma Shobo, Seiro Sato, The World of Chekhov's Plays, p. 145

Earlier I mentioned that the work has a somber atmosphere and lingering feeling.

This is where the sadness and lingering sadness really came from.

The sound of the axe makes one imagine the beloved cherry trees being mercilessly chopped down.

For us Japanese, the cherry tree has a special meaning. We feel an indescribable sense of impermanence and sadness as the cherry blossoms fall. It is precisely because we have this sense that the sound of the axe announcing the felling of the cherry tree is linked to various scenes in our lives, and that is why we are so moved by it.

Russians, and indeed people all over the world, love this work, but I felt sure that the Japanese would be especially attached to it. At least, I like this work the best among the four major plays.

I have seen Chekhov's four major plays so far, and all of them are works that I would like to see in an actual play. Among them, "The Cherry Orchard" was one in which I felt this especially. If I have the chance, I would love to see a Chekhov play.

The above is a synopsis of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" - a masterpiece play from Chekhov's last years.

Next Article.

Click here to read the previous article.

Click here for a list of Chekhov's recommended works.

Related Articles