The Black Monk

by  David Rabe

Full Length Play, Drama  /  6m, 2f

"Highly recommended for fans of literature or thoughtful theater." - Philadelphia Stage Magazine

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The Black Monk

by  David Rabe

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    6m, 2f
  • Duration


    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


    Adaptations (Literature)
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Kovrin arrives at Pesotsky's estate, where he spent his childhood, to find the orchard filled with smoke and threatened by frost. When dawn arrives, the orchard is saved and, in the following weeks, Kovrin finds joy away from the demands of city and university life, begins to see Pesotsky's daughter Tanya in a new light, and becomes aware that Pesotsky is troubled about the survival of his magnificent gardens. He remains tormented by a subtle, original idea. An emissary from the unknown, the legendary Black Monk, appears to Kovrin, bringing opportunies and risks from invisible realms into the concrete world. While love makes certain claims in uncertain ways, Kovrin, Pesotsky and Tanya face choices that have consequences beyond the desired and foreseen.
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"David Rabe did theater a favor by adapting Anton Chekhov’s short story The Black Monk for the stage." - Philadelphia Inquirer, Read More

"Highly recommended for fans of literature or thoughtful theater." - Philadelphia Stage Magazine, Read More


Death, Love, Memory


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance



  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: The orchard and home of Yegor Pesotsky, Kovrin's Moscow apartment.
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


6m, 2f

YEGOR SEMYONITCH PESTOSKY - renouned horticulturist, in his sixties, owner of a flourishing estate.
TANYA - Pesotsky's daghter, a childhood friend of Kovrin. She's in her twneties.
ORLOV - a valet, elderly earnest and put upon.
ANDREI VASILICH KOVRIN - scholar and idealist in his thirties, an orphan raised by Pesotsky.
THE BLACK MONK - a visitor, a trickster, a friend.

NADIA - twenties, friend to Tanya, has a beautiful singing voice.
MIKHAIL - thirties, he is Nadia's companion and a friend to Tanya and Pesotsky; he plays the piano.
YAKOV - twenties, friend to Nadia and Mikhail, he would like to court Tanya.


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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Room for Extras

Casting Notes

Members of the Ensemble can double in the roles Other Black Monks, Concierge, Bellman, Peasants



David Rabe

David Rabe

The Black Monk premiered at Yale Repertory Theatre in May 2003 under the direction of Daniel Fish.

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