A Doctor's Visit: An Adaptation of a Short Story by Chekhov

Glass, Guy

Primary Category: Literature / Plays

Genre: Play

Annotated by:
Kohn, Martin
  • Date of entry: Mar-20-2017
  • Last revised: Mar-20-2017

Summary

First published in 1898, Chekhov’s “A Doctor’s Visit”  has been ably adapted as a short play by physician-playwright, Guy Fredrick Glass. In addition to the original characters, in his adaptation Glass has added a new character, a medical student, Boris, as a foil and interlocutor for the work’s main character, Dr. Korolyov. Staging directions and scene setting also add dramatic dimensions to the story, as do elaborations of conversations including  comedic encounters with the governess, Christina Dmitryevna, and a display of "compassionate solidarity" (see Coulehan annotation ) with the doctor’s patient, Liza. The primary theme of the story stays true in this adaptation—Korolyov’s impressions of the patient viewed from a cold objective stance are changed as he develops personal insights into the social and political nature of her (and his) malaise.

Commentary

Readers’ Theater has been a part of Medical Humanities education for decades—through the use, for example, of plays such as Vonnegut Jr.’s Fortitude and Edson’s Wit—but also through adaptations of stories, in particular through the work of Todd Savitt. This new adaptation, performed in Readers’ Theater style recently by medical students at the Health Humanities Consortium conference in Cleveland OH, in 2016 (see "Learning Empathy through Chekhov" blog post), adds a new and compelling work for classroom use. For those institutions with the resources, full productions could be considered as well.      

Miscellaneous

Place Published

NY, NY

Edition

2016

Page Count

24