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Chekhov for the 21st Century. Carol Apollonio and Angela Brintlinger, eds. Bloomington, IN: Slavica Publishers, 2012, 317–33.       Chekhov in the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute Nena Couch The  Jerome  Lawrence  and  Robert  E.  Lee  Theatre  Research  Institute,  the  Ohio   State  University  Libraries’  special  collection  for  the  performing  arts  located  at   the  Thompson  Library,  holds  collections  which  are  wide-­‐‑ranging  in  scope  and   serves  as  an  archive  for  performers,  playwrights,  choreographers,  designers,   and  production  organizations  and  advances  the  study  and  inspiration  of  the   performing  arts.  In  association  with  the  Department  of  Theatre,  the  Institute   acquires,   preserves,   and   makes   accessible   materials   documenting   the   per-­‐‑ forming   arts   for   the   purposes   of   scholarship,   education,   and   enjoyment;   provides   an   active   teaching   component;   serves   as   a   source   for   the   creation,   development,  and  reconstruction  of  new  works;  and  enriches  patrons’  expe-­‐‑ riences   of   materials,   which   reveal   our   performing   arts   culture   and   history.   While   holdings   range   from   an   extensive   microfilm   collection   documenting   sixteenth-­‐‑  through  early  twentieth-­‐‑century  European  theater  to  the  papers  of   playwrights,  critics,  producers,  actors,  choreographers,  scholars,  and  others;   to  the  archives  of  theater  organizations;  to  an  extensive  theater  book  collec-­‐‑ tion;   and   to   the   design   art   of   many   major   designers—there   is   no   specific   Anton  Chekhov  collection.  Nevertheless,  when  one  explores  the  broad  hold-­‐‑ ings   of   the   institute,   a   wealth   of   documentation   on   the   works   of   Chekhov   emerges,  providing  a  rich  basis  for  research.  In  this  essay,  I  will  discuss  sev-­‐‑ eral   Chekhovian   areas   of   the   Institute   holdings   that   I   find   particularly   compelling.1     Daphne Dare Collection Theater  design  is  a  major  focus  for  the  Lawrence  and  Lee  Institute  with  orig-­‐‑ inal  design  art  of  primarily  the  late  nineteenth  century  through  the  present   from   as   far   away   as   the   Czech   Republic   and   Russia   to   Broadway   and   the                                                                                                                             1  This  essay  is  an  outgrowth  of  the  exhibition  on  Chekhov  mounted  by  Nena  Couch   and   Chelsea   Phillips   from   the   holdings   of   the   Jerome   Lawrence   and   Robert   E.   Lee   Theatre  Research  Institute  in  cooperation  with  the  Hilandar  Research  Library,  in  con-­‐‑ junction  with  the  international  conference  “Chekhov  on  Stage  and  Page,”  2–4  Decem-­‐‑ ber  2010.     318 NENA COUCH regional   theaters   of   the   United   States.   In   the   design   collections,   there   are   wonderful  visual  resources  for  productions  of  Chekhov  plays,  in  particular  by   the  British  designer  Daphne  Dare.  Dare  was  born  in  Yeovil,  Somerset,  Eng-­‐‑ land,  and  attended  the  Bath  Academy  of  Art  and  London  University,  where   she  studied  Scene  Painting,  Sculpture,  and  Stage  Design.  Over  the  course  of   her  career,  Daphne  Dare  had  a  part  in  more  than  sixty  productions  at  com-­‐‑ panies   including   the   Bristol   Old   Vic,   the   Royal   Shakespeare   Company,   the   Chichester  Festival,  and  the  Stratford  Festival  of  Canada,  serving  in  such  roles   as  art  director,  costume  designer,  production  designer,  and  set  designer.     Following   Dare’s   death   in   2000,   her   extensive   collection—2,000   original   costume  and  set  designs,  blue  prints,  notes,  photographs,  slides,  posters,  pro-­‐‑ grams,   and   clippings—was   donated   to   the   Jerome   Lawrence   and   Robert   E.   Lee   Theatre   Research   Institute   by   British   actor   Valerie   Minifie,   executor   of   Dare’s  estate.   Chekhov  is  a  playwright  for  whom  Dare  seemed  to  have  an  affinity.  Next   to   Shakespeare,   she   designed   more   productions   of   Chekhov   plays   than   for   work  by  any  other  playwright,  and  Shakespeare  is  hardly  a  fair  comparison   since   a   substantial   part   of   her   career   was   spent   at   the   Stratford   Festival   in   Canada   as   well   as   with   the   Royal   Shakespeare   Company.   The   work   of   the   Russian  playwright  and  the  style  of  the  turn-­‐‑of-­‐‑the-­‐‑twentieth-­‐‑century  period   clearly   appealed   to   her.   While   she   designed   productions   of   certain   non-­‐‑ Chekhov  plays  out  of  period  such  as  A  Midsummer  Night’s  Dream  (Northcott   Theatre,   1968)   with   early   nineteenth-­‐‑century   clothing   for   the   Athenians   or   Two   Gentlemen   of   Verona   (Royal   Shakespeare   Company,   1970)   with   hippie-­‐‑ style   garb,   she   never   designed   a   production   for   a   play   by   Chekhov   out   of   period,   always   preserving   a   meticulous   fidelity   to   the   clothing   of   the   time.   Certainly  that  decision,  to  a  large  extent,  belonged  to  her  directors;  however,   she  designed  frequently  for  Robin  Phillips,  with  whom  she  had  a  very  close   working  relationship,  exercising  significant  influence  on  production  concepts.   Their  collaboration  has  been  described  as  “an  interesting  and  important  ex-­‐‑ ample  of  a  common  approach  and  a  shared  esthetic.”2     Dare   designed   The   Cherry   Orchard   (Northcott   Theatre,   Exeter   in   1969),   Three  Sisters  twice  (Greenwich  Theatre,  London,  1973,  and  Stratford  Festival,   1976),   Uncle   Vanya3   twice   (Stratford   Festival,   1978,   and   Haymarket   Theatre,                                                                                                                             2  Michael  Eagan,  “Director/Designer  Collaborations,”  in  Imagined...


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