As mentioned in the Crash Course you watched, the next most famous playwright working the Theater of Realism was Anton Chekov. His plays were described by him as comedies but most people who watched them described them as domestic tragedies. I was in one of his plays THE CHERRY ORCHARD, and while no clips remain from that ancient production, I have the next best thing in a clip here which happens towards the end of the play, which is about a bunch of Russian rich people who have owned a huge cherry orchard for generations. Now, they are running short of money so, although they don’t want to, they have had to put the orchard up for auction. What they don’t foresee is that the orchard is bought by their chief gardener and estate manager whose name is Lophakin. In this scene, which begins with a party, the mistress of the house Madame Ranyevskaya is told that the orchard has been sold. They don’t discover by whom until Lophakin crashes the party, drunk and overcome with what he’s just done. The ironic tone of the scene is in his joy set against the shock and horror of Ranyevskaya and the others as Lopahkin tells them he’s going to chop down the orchard and make way for cottages for the ordinary folk. Enjoy!
Then you will find an excerpt from the play entitled THE ICEMAN COMETH by one of the most famous early 20th century American playwrights Eugene O’Neill. Set in Harry Hope’s sleazy bar, it’s about a group of men who have basically given up on life and prefer to filter their grievances and dreams through the dark oblivion of intoxication. Into the bar comes Hickey, the traveling salesman, a man so positive and life-affirming that it’s easy to miss the terrible pain he too is suffering from.
And finally, let’s bring it up to contemporary drama and David Mamet, one of our greatest living playwrights. Of his many incredible plays GLANGARRY GLEN ROSS, stands out with really specific dialogue and great roles to play. In this clip, you’ve got some of the greatest actors out there playing salesman and Alec Baldwin playing the messenger from Head Office. All of them except for Jack Lemon, the older salesman, are still alive. I should warn you that there are several instances of the use of the f word so if you would rather not hear that word, don’t watch the clip. In the mean time, here’s the link to the 8 minute clip: