Ivanov, a landowner who farms a large estate, is in debt, and his wife, whom he no longer loves, is dying of tuberculosis. He owes money everywhere and has reached the point of despair. The love of Sasha, a young girl in the neighborhood, seems to offer him a way out, but the neighbors accuse him of merely trying to obtain the girl's money. He is torn by feelings of guilt when his wife dies, but is determined to marry Sasha. During the period of their engagement even this relationship sours on him, and on the morning of his wedding day, he can no longer live a lie and he shoots himself. A series of brilliant character parts enliven this semi-tragic play with moments of great humor.
"The director wanted 'a language that would sound, in the mouths of American actors, as fresh and vivid as the original Russian.' Schmidt succeeds. Slang and modern idiom are woven almost seamlessly into the script." —Time Out San Francisco. "Schmidt's translation has a lean, sharp, sorrowfully funny style…" —Sacramento Bee.