María Irene Fornés, based on a short story by Anton Chekhov

This play is included in the collection:


A surrealist playlet in which a man performs suicides for a fee.

Production Info

Cast: 3 total (3 male)
Short Drama (about 15 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“Take seven contemporary American playwrights with highly distinctive voices and wildly differing approaches to the theater. Ask each to adapt one of Anton Chekhov’s short stories, which range in mood from the melancholic to the satiric — and back again … the results are incomparably delicious … when ORCHARDS is good — which is most of the time — it is very, very good, indeed …” —Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

“The notion of asking seven contemporary playwrights to produce variations on themes by Anton Chekhov seems at first like asking for combination-platter theater … All of the playwrights use Chekhov short stories for a springboard — but some have jumped so far into the deep end that it would be more accurate to say that they maybe looked at his picture while they were writing … Whether you pick from Column A or Column B, ORCHARDS offers a superior menu.” —Megan Rosenfeld, The Washington Post

About the Author


  • Anton Chekhov

    Widely considered one of the world's greatest writers, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born on January 29, 1860, in Taganrog, Russia. In 1879 he entered the University of Moscow to study medicine and graduated in 1884. He kept a strict writing schedule and continued to practice medicine for the rest of his life. In addition to his numerous short stories, many considered masterpieces of the form, Chekhov wrote over a dozen plays, among them the classics of Western dramatic literature UNCLE VANYA, THE CHERRY ORCHARD, THE THREE SISTERS, and THE SEAGULL.

  • María Irene Fornés

    Fornés was born on May 14, 1930, in Havana, Cuba, to Carlos Luis and Carmen Hismenia Fornés. After her father died in 1945, she moved with her mother and sister to the United States, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1951. From 1954 to 1957, Fornés lived in Paris, studying to become a painter. However, after attending a French production of Samuel Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT, Fornés decided to devote her creative energies toward playwriting. Upon returning to the United States, she worked for three years as a textile designer in New York City. THE WIDOW, Fornés's first professionally produced play, was staged in 1961. Fornés acted as the director for many of her subsequent works, including THERE! YOU DIED (1963; later retitled TANGO PALACE, 1964), THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE OF 3: A SKIT IN VAUDEVILLE (1965), and MOLLY'S DREAM (1968), among others. In 1973 she founded the New York Theatre Strategy, which was devoted to the production of stylistically innovative theatrical works. Fornés has held teaching and advisory positions at several universities and theatrical festivals, such as the Theatre for the New City, the Padua Hills Festival, and the INTAR (International Arts Relations) program in New York City. She received eight Obie awards — in such categories as distinguished playwriting and direction and best new play — for PROMENADE (1965), THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE OF 3, FEFU AND HER FRIENDS, THE DANUBE (1982), MUD, SARITA (1984), THE CONDUCT OF LIFE, and ABINGDON SQUARE (1987). Fornés received numerous other awards and grants for her oeuvre, including Rockefeller Foundation Grants in 1971 and 1984, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972, National Endowments for the Arts grants in 1974, 1984, and 1985, an American Academy and Institute of Letters and Arts Award in Literature in 1986, and a Playwrights U.S.A. Award in 1986. She also produced several original translations and adaptations of such plays as Federico Garcia Lorca's BLOOD WEDDING (1980), Pedro Calderón de la Barca's LIFE IS A DREAM (1981), Virgilio Piñera's COLD AIR (1985), and Anton Chekhov's UNCLE VANYA (1987). She died in New York City on October 30, 2018.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 1/1/1988
Pages 96
ISBN 9780881450552

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Originally produced by The Acting Company

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Drowning is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


2/10/2024 – 2/10/2024
Oslo, Norway

9/21/2022 – 10/9/2022
Aloes Llc
New York, NY


12/5/2022 – 12/5/2022
Hamilton College Theatre Dept.
Clinton, NY

4/23/2021 – 5/2/2021
Eastern Michigan University Theatre
Ypsilanti, MI

6/1/2019 – 6/1/2019
Metropolitan Community College
Omaha, NE

12/4/2017 – 12/5/2017
Hamilton College
Clinton, NY

12/7/2015 – 12/7/2015
Hamilton College
Clinton, NY