O Vredye Tabaka
The original text
Written as a monologue called О вреде табака in the original Russian, the work features a diffident character called Ivan Ivanovich Nyukhin who is asked by his wife to make a speech about the effects of tobacco. The work was first published in 1886, then revised by Chekhov just before his death and published again in 1902. The original version was popular in Russia in the 1880s as a farce, but the play was long ignored in the west.
Translations and adaptations
First translated and published in English as On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco in the collection The Unknown Chekhov in 1954, and since then has been performed and re-published a number of times. Also found as The Harmful Effects of Tobacco and On the Harm of Tobacco.
Translated into Afrikaans as Die Skadelike Effek van Twak by Nico Luwes. Text available in the LitNet Spens ("Litnet Pantry") at http://www.litnet.co.za/Article/litnet-spens-die-skadelike-effek-van-twak.
A South African English adaptation, entitled Tobacco, and the Harmful Effects Thereof, was written by William Harding in 2014, re-imagining the play by drawing on other artists, such as Franz Kafka, Edward Lear and André Breton, et al.
South African performances
2014-2015: Performed in Harding's version as Tobacco, and the Harmful Effects Thereof by The Fortune Cookie Theatre Company at the National Arts Festival (NAF) in Grahamstown, and at the Baxter Flipside from 20 May to 13 June 2015; directed by Sylvaine Strike, with Andrew Buckland and Toni Morkel. Costume and lighting design by Sylvaine Strike and set design by Chen Nakar.
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