NICHOLAS IVANOFF, perpetual member of the Council of Peasant Affairs
ANNA, his wife.
Nee Sarah Abramson
MATTHEW SHABELSKI, a count, uncle of Ivanoff
MICHAEL BORKIN, a distant relative of Ivanoff, and manager of his estate
AVDOTIA NAZAROVNA, an old woman
GEORGE, lives with the Lebedieffs
FIRST GUEST SECOND GUEST THIRD GUEST FOURTH GUEST
This four-act drama was first performed in 1887, when Fiodor Korsh, the owner of the Korsh Theatre in Moscow, commissioned Chekhov to write a comedy. Chekhov responded with a four-act drama, which he completed in only ten days.
The play concerns Nikolai Ivanov, a man struggling to regain his former glory. For the past five years, he has been married to Anna Petrovna, a disinherited ‘jewess’, who has suffered greatly from illness.
Ivanov’s estate is run by a distant relative, Mikhail Borkin, who is frequently advising people on how he can help them make money. The doctor, Lvov, an ‘honest’ man as he likes to frequently remind the rest of the cast, informs Ivanov that his wife is dying of Tuberculosis and that she needs to recover by going to the Crimea. Unfortunately, Ivanov is unable to pay for the expensive journey, as he is heavily in debt, owing Zinaida Lebdeva 9000 roubles. Ivanov is criticised for heartlessness and for spending time with the Lebedevs instead of his seriously ill wife.
This is one of his early lesser known but still Preformed plays that in a comic fashion, deals with the issues of changing times in Russia, as do his more famous plays.