Amy Brenneman's Bookshelf
By Anton Chekhov
When I was 11 years old, I saw a production of The Cherry Orchard, and I decided that I wanted to be an actress. Masha in The Sea-Gull is an incredible part: She is a funny, frumpy character, but she's also dealing with turbulent emotions. She says she's "in mourning for my life." Someone once said to me that every character in Chekhov's works is a hero, because other people in those predicaments would kill themselves; what's so interesting to me is how his characters constantly try to put words to their feelings. They're falling in love with people, and they don't know why. They're educated, and they're supposed to be in control of their emotions, but they're not. Chekhov's plays aren't on a huge, heightened, Shakespearean level, where people are kings and countries are falling. They are precious and intimate, and I think that's why we keep going back to them.