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Seven Short Farces

Anton Chekhov trans Paul Schmidt Price: $9.99

Swan Song ~ An actor wakes up with a hangover, locked in the theater after the evening's performance

He is terrified when he thinks a ghost appears, but it is only the theater's prompter. The actor tells him stories of his life and also of his doubts about his career

Unburdened, he goes off cheered, reciting great speeches from Shakespeare (2 men)

In The Bear a landowner comes to claim a debt from a young woman whose husband has just died

Out of grief, she refuses to see him her attempt to prove to her faithless dead husband that women are more loyal than men

Eventually, the young widow and the landowner quarrel, and decide to fight a duel, leaving the landowner so impressed that he falls madly in love and proposes. The widow accepts (2 men, 1 woman)

The Proposal portrays a nervous young farmer who comes to propose to his neighbor's daughter

Instead of making the proposal, the two young people get involved in comic arguments. The young man leaves, the girl goes into hysterics until the father goes after the young man, who returns

He finally proposes, she accepts, and the two go on fighting (2 men, 1 woman)

A Reluctant Tragic Hero ~ Our hero spends the summer in the country, but is driven to the brink of distraction by various demands to run errands in the city and bring back lots of odd items to the country with him (2 men)

The Wedding Reception A daffy young couple, with equally daffy family and friends, desires an "important" wedding reception

To get it, they pay a friend to bring a general with him. The friend pockets the money and instead shows up with a retired sailor who drives the party crazy with his sea stories (7 men, 3 women)

In The Festivities a pompous, self-important bank manager prepares to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the branch office he manages

He arranges for a series of "spontaneous" tributes to his supposed expertise, but chaos ensues when his wife returns from a visit to her mother's and a crazy woman comes looking for a job for her husband (3 men, 2 women)

The Dangers Of Tobacco ~ portrays the shaky state of mind of a henpecked man whose wife runs a boarding school

At the end of this tragicomic piece, the man is saved from a breakdown by the sudden arrival of his wife (1 man)

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