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'Wild' Chekhov

November 02, 1986

Why do the ads for "Wild Honey" call it "a comedy by Michael Frayn, from the play . . . by Anton Chekhov."

When I saw the play three summers ago in London, it was billed as "by Anton Chekhov, in a version by Michael Frayn." Although I have a great respect for Frayn's talent, the story, characters and most of the dialogue were created by Chekhov. Although Frayn did substantial editing, focusing and rewriting, even he admitted (in his preface to the plays) that "any virtues must be credited towards Chekhov's account, not mine."

Why then the altered credits? Certainly not because Frayn has more marquee value than Chekhov.

Could it be that the producers want to make sure that the play can be eligible in New York for a Tony nomination for Best Play? (Since an earlier translation of the play was performed in New York, the play might be ineligible if Chekhov received authorship.)

This reducton of credit is an insult to Chekhov, one of the greatest dramatists in human history and the play's originator.

RICHARD ORLOFF

Los Angeles

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