Seven And A Half Years

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Susannah Clapp explores why the unforgettable Russian playwright Chekhov believed that he would be remembered for no more than seven and a half years.

Shortly before he died, the great Russian playwright and short story writer Anton Chekhov, confided in a friend that he believed he would be remembered for seven, perhaps seven and a half years. One hundred and seven and a half years later, in the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth - and now that Chekhov is second only to Shakespeare in popularity as a playwright across the globe - Susannah Clapp explores his obsession with memory and the passage of time, and his fear of being forgotten. She gathers a special Chekhov repetory company, including Anna Maxwell Martin, at the BBC's Maida Vale studios, to discuss and perform new translations by the young poet Sasha Dugdale, of Three Sisters, his most memory-obsessed play; and hears from Chekhov experts in Britain and Moscow, including the translator Michael Frayn, the director Declan Donnellan and Anatoly Smelianski, director of the Moscow Art Theatre school, to tell a story of broken clocks, spinning tops, tuberculosis and immortality.

Actors: Melissa Advani, Bruce Alexander, Joseph Cohen-Cahn, Emerald O'Hanrahan, Tessa Nicholson, Anna Maxwell Martin and Piers Wehner.

Producer: Beaty Rubens

Shortly before he died, the great Russian playwright and short story writer Anton Chekhov, confided in a friend that he believed he would be remembered for seven, perhaps seven and a half years.

One hundred and seven and a half years later, in the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth - and now that Chekhov is second only to Shakespeare in popularity as a playwright across the globe - Susannah Clapp explores his obsession with memory and the passage of time, and his fear of being forgotten.

She gathers a special Chekhov repetory company, including Anna Maxwell Martin, at the BBC's Maida Vale studios, to discuss and perform new translations by the young poet Sasha Dugdale, of Three Sisters, his most memory-obsessed play; and hears from Chekhov experts in Britain and Moscow, including the translator Michael Frayn, the director Declan Donnellan and Anatoly Smelianski, director of the Moscow Art Theatre school, to tell a story of broken clocks, spinning tops, tuberculosis and immortality.

Susannah Clapp explores Chekhov's obsession with memory and being forgotten.