The Mantle follows the life of a civil servant, Akaki Akakievitch who just loves his work! Born in St Petersburg, he is a copy writer, meaning he copies text from one place to another. In his spare time and after work hours, he also copies. When given more responsibility, he begs to return to...copying. One particular winter, he notices that, between home and office, he is cold, his mantle is threadbare, and he can no longer repair it himself. Our conflict begins here, as Akaki seeks a solution to his threadbare mantle.
Although he achieved notable success as a novelist, poet, essayist, and painter, August Strindberg is best known today as one of the first and most significant masters of naturalist theatre. Among his many dramatic works are a number of one-act plays, four of which are presented in this recording. All of the plays feature a persistent theme in Strindberg's works: the inevitable disillusion that results from intense involvement in relationships, whether they be familial, romantic or circumstantial.
The Boor (sometimes translated as The Bear) is an atypical romantic comedy by Anton Chekhov. A surly landowner visits a widow who is one of his debtors - with unexpected results.
A rich widow finds that the man she wishes to marry is already engaged. He has just suddenly become a peer and cannot, he thinks, break his promise.
The premier Russian dramatist before Chekov, Alexander Ostrovsky was one of the first masters of realistic theatre. A typical example of his approach to drama, A Protégée of the Mistress is almost cinematic in its presentation. The action is represented by a series of vivid snapshots, in which Ostrovsky quickly and subtly illustrates the foibles and weaknesses of each character, and shows how they are forced into a hostile dependence on each other.
After many years living abroad with her longtime lover, Lady Catherine Champion-Cheney visits her former marital home, now occupied by her son, Arnold, and his wife, Elizabeth. Also present is her estranged husband, Clive, who lives in a cottage on the estate. Elizabeth has become dissatisfied with the life she leads with her wealthy husband, who is very occupied with his political career, and she encourages the advances of a dashing but impecunious suitor, Teddy Luton.
Santa's Christmas schedule has run into a major problem - all his reindeer, even the heroic Rudolph, are too ill to fly. However, a promising solution to Santa's dilemma is offered from an unlikely source - the eccentric elf Melvin.
Gogol's phantasmagorical tale about a man whose nose decides to abscond and begin living a life of its own is one of the earliest and most celebrated examples of absurdist literature. Apart from its recondite humor, it is remarkable for Gogol's skill in characterization and his ability to paint a picture of contemporary life in Russia in a few verbal brushstrokes.
Louis Esson is considered to be the first great Australian dramatist. As with most of his work, these four plays depict life from the view of the common man and provide vivid presentations of life, both urban and rural, in Australia before the First World War.