Chekhov and the Birth of Modern Drama

Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 quarters

Taught by

performance, voice, community studies

This program will explore, in detail, the short fiction and major plays of Anton Chekhov and a few of his contemporary dramatists, who are together credited with the early development of modern drama. We will study not only their works but also their lives and times, from which they drew their major characters and dramatic situations. We will also study, in some depth, the Stanislavsky Method and other precursors of modern acting.  In Fall quarter, we will apply that learning by rehearsing and performing scenes from the plays we study.  Students in fall quarter will also do preliminary work, including auditions, for a full production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard , which we will perform at the end of the winter quarter.  Students can expect to be involved in all aspects of production--conceptualizing and constructing costumes, props, scenery, lighting, and sound--as well as acting. Students with significant production responsibilities should expect to enroll for 12 credits in winter quarter.

We will study filmed performances of Chekhov's plays as well as those of Ibsen, Pirandello, Brecht, and others associated with the birth of modern drama. In the Winter quarter, we will continue to read, critique, and discuss commentaries, current and past, on the plays of Chekhov and other early twentieth-century dramatists and determine the many reasons for the enduring legacy and influence of the Russian short story writer and playwright. Credit equivalencies will be in cultural history, literature, and drama.

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

teaching, acting, directing, performing, reading critically, and living a civilized and cultural life

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening

Advertised schedule: 6-10p Fall: Tue/Thu; Winter: Tue/Wed/Thu.  In winter quarter, 8 credit students will meet Tue/Thu; 12 credit students will meet Tue/Wed/Thu.  In weeks 8, 9, and 10 of winter quarter, tech/dress rehearsals and performances will require additional evenings TBA. 


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Online Learning

No Required Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Required Fees

Theatre tickets $15 per quarter

Registration Information

Credits: 8 (Fall); 8, 12 (Winter)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

(8 credits): 10014

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Accepting New Students

Signature Required

Signature required for 12 credit CRN only (for students with major production responsibilities: main actors, stage managers, assistant directors, technical coordinators, etc.).

Course Reference Numbers

(8 credits): 20009
(12 credits): 20010

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