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Performance commemorates playwright’s death

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Russian writer Anton Pavlovich Chekhov’s death, the Theatre and World Language departments will perform pieces of his work.

“It’s entirely something driven by a few faculty members that have a real appreciation,” said David Frankel, Assistant Director of Theater.

Frankel will perform the monologue The Harmfulness of Tobacco about a man whose digressions transform a speech he intends to recite into a character sketch.

“He ends up revealing much more about himself, instead of discussing the vice mentioned in the title,” Frankel said.

The character in the monologue is similar to those in other Chekhov plays because the audience can sense his sadness and at the same time the humor of his situation, Frankel said.

“He was just a great writer because he was able to capture the heartache of humanity, but conveyed it not depressively, but just as a part of who we are,” Frankel said.

Chekhov worked as a physician and, besides plays, wrote vaudeville skits, novels and short stories.

“He is important because he comes along when the convention of realism had been established in a certain direction and he brings in a sharp sense of character. The plot doesn’t drive the play, the characters do,” Frankel said.

Students Joe Cirafici and April Bender will perform a scene from The Seagull and Victor Peppard, of the world language department, along with a few of his colleagues, will perform a scene from The Bear.

“It’s a low-key kind of thing,” Frankel said. “It’s a gathering of people who are interested.”

Frankel said he has been looking forward to this for a while and said free performances such as these are purely for the appreciation of the art.

“It is just to do it, because it is well worth it,” he said. “It shows that this stuff is really important.”

The performances will take place in Theatre Department Room TAR 120 at 6 p.m.