Letters of Anton Chekhov, by Anton Chekhov

To E. M. S.

MELIHOVO, November, 1896.

If, O honoured “One of the Audience”, you are writing of the first performance, then allow — oh, allow me to doubt your sincerity. You hasten to pour healing balsam on the author’s wounds, supposing that, under the circumstances, that is more necessary and better than sincerity; you are kind, very kind, and it does credit to your heart. At the first performance I did not see all, but what I did see was dingy, grey, dismal and wooden. I did not distribute the parts and was not given new scenery. There were only two rehearsals, the actors did not know their parts — and the result was a general panic and utter depression; even Madame Kommissarzhevsky’s acting was not up to much, though at one of the rehearsals she acted marvellously, so that people sitting in the stalls wept with bowed heads.

In any case I am grateful and very, very much touched. All my plays are being printed, and as soon as they are ready I shall send you a copy. . . .


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