Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard
About the Author
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in the small seaport of Taganrog, southern Russia, the son of a grocer. Chekhov's grandfather was a serf, who had bought his own freedom and that of his three sons in 1841. He also taught himself to read and write.Yevgenia Morozov, Chekhov's mother, was the daughter of a cloth merchant.
Act I opens with the businessman Lopakhin and maid Dunyasha waiting for the owners of the Ranevskaya estate: the mistress of the house, Lubov Ranevskaya, her brother Gaev, and daughter Anya. They finally arrive, in the middle of the night, with an assortment of others: the governess Charlotta, the manservant Yasha, a friend named Simeon-Pischik, and other servants. Varya, Lubov's adopted daughter, is there too.
Tearful reunions and a general catching-up ensue. Those who stayed home report on the orchard, and those who left report on Paris. The important news items are these: Lopakhin still hasn't proposed to Varya; Lubov lost all her money supporting a scamp; the cherry orchard will definitely be sold to pay their debts; and the elderly servant Fiers is still alive.
Lopakhin has an idea to save their house. He's attached to it because he grew up there, the son of a serf (a peasant working on the land). Lopakhin proposes clearing the land to lease it for summer homes. Neither Lubov nor Gaev can stomach the idea. Just before everyone goes to bed, the student Trofimov enters. He was the tutor to Lubov's deceased young son, and the sight of his face makes her cry for her dead child.
In Act II, we're at a picnic in the cherry orchard. Some weeks have passed. The aristocrats arrive with Lopakhin, who is still hatching plans to save the estate. Lubov knows they need to do something, but to her the idea of summer homes is bourgeois and distasteful. Trofimov enters with Anya and Varya. Pet subjects come up: Varya's engagement; Trofimov's eternal...