Geoffrey Borny

Geoffrey Borny is a currently a Visiting Fellow and member of the Emeritus Faculty at The Australian National University having recently retired from the position of Reader and Head of Theatre Studies.  His publications include a monograph entitled Modern American Drama and a verse translation into English of Racine’s comedy Les Plaideurs entitled Petty Sessions. His research interests include the study of Shakespearean acting and staging conventions and the works of Tennessee Williams. Besides being an academic, he is both an actor and director and has received a number of awards for his work in these areas.

Interpreting Chekhov »

Authored by: Geoffrey Borny
Publication date: August 2006
The author’s contention is that Chekhov’s plays have often been misinterpreted by scholars and directors, particularly through their failure to adequately balance the comic and tragic elements inherent in these works. Through a close examination of the form and content of Chekhov’s dramas, the author shows how deeply pessimistic or overly optimistic interpretations fail to sufficiently account for the rich complexity and ambiguity of these plays. The author suggests that, by accepting that Chekhov’s plays are synthetic tragi-comedies which juxtapose potentially tragic sub-texts with essentially comic texts, critics and directors are more likely to produce richer and more deeply satisfying interpretations of these works. Besides being of general interest to any reader interested in understanding Chekhov’s work, the book is intended to be of particular interest to students of Drama and Theatre Studies and to potential directors of these subtle plays.