Natalya Petrovna, once wooed and won over by the rich landowner Arkady Sergeyevich, has now suffered a long and frustrating marriage. She has taken comfort in the love of Michel, a family friend, but even he has come to represent the same kind of boredom Natalya finds with her doting husband. Instead, it is Aleksey, her son's dashing twenty-one-year-old tutor, whom Natalya now desires. Natalya's beautiful and energetic ward Vera, though, can't help but compete for Aleksey's affections, being so close to him in age. How to position herself between Aleksey and Vera, then, becomes Natalya's obsession during the hot summer days, and when she learns that a neighboring landowner wants to marry Vera, Natalya seizes the chance to remove the only obstacle between her and seducing away the young Aleksey. Heartbreaking though the consequences may be for Vera—her suitor, you see, is almost 60—Natalya goes to increasingly dangerous ends to encourage the match while simultaneously wooing Aleksey. Risking her home, her marriage and even the only man who's ever sworn to stand by her, proves to be too much. Abandoned in the end by everyone but her husband, Natalya's situation comes to represent the thoroughly modern predicament of never being satisfied with what one has.
The classically moving comedy of Natalya, the frustrated wife of a landowner, whose schemes for the forbidden love of her son's handsome and vibrant young tutor Aleksey come close to destroying both her long time lover Michel and the life of her vulnerable, suffering ward Vera. "This adaptation's language, tone, personalities, and even themes are clearly Friel's…sharp…funny…a unique sound and compelling depth. Turgenev's classic is energized, more entertaining, fresher." —TheaterWeek. "A MASTERLY TRIUMPH…sensitive…superlative…impeccable…" —The Irish Independent. "…a marvelously rich evening of theatre…" —Irish Times.