Chekhov, Stanislavski, and Modern Drama

Fall 2017
Winter 2018
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Marla Elliot portrait
performance, voice, community studies

This program will explore the works of the Russian short fiction writer and playwright Anton Chekhov and other European dramatists, such as Henrik Ibsen, who together are credited with the development of modern drama. We will analyze not only their fictional and dramatic works but also their lives and times—from which they drew their characters and dramatic situations.

Chekhov’s drama, subtle and mundane yet profound, led Constantin Stanislavski to invent an entirely new system of acting in order to interpret them, and has linked the two inextricably.  Modern actors’ concern with emotional authenticity originated with Chekhov and Stanislavski. In fall quarter, all students will be trained in the fundamentals of acting, voice, directing, and design.  Students will apply those skills to stage scenes from Chekhov’s Three Sisters. A 4-credit component, titled Chekhov's Russian, is also available in Fall. For more information, see the Chekhov's Russian catalog listing. 

In winter quarter, the entire class will become a production company to stage Three Sisters for the public.  In addition to acting, students can expect to be involved in all aspects of technical theatre.  They will help create costumes, scenery, lighting, and sound; work backstage during performances; create and carry out publicity plans for the production; and serve as stage managers and house managers. Most major acting roles will be reserved for those who enroll in the program for both fall and winter quarters.

Also in winter quarter, we will study plays by Ibsen, Shaw, Brecht, and other dramatists associated with the birth of modern drama. Throughout the program we will read, critique, and discuss commentaries—current and past—on the plays of Chekhov and the other late-19th and 20th century dramatists, and explore the many explanations given for their enduring legacy and influence.

Fields of study: 

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: history, literature, and theater

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

$20 per fall quarter for theatre tickets

Scheduled for: Evening

Located in: Olympia

Advertised schedule:

Mon/Wed/Thu 6-10p. Winter quarter, during the final rehearsals and performances, additional evenings and late evenings will be required.