Chekhov’s Other Dramatic Principles
Chekhov’s gun is a dramatic principle that maintains that every element of a play should fulfill its promise to the audience—for example, a loaded gun that appears in the first act must go off by the third. It is named for the Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov, who happened to have a lot of other thoughts about a lot of other things, in addition to guns.
If you put on a non-baseball hat in the morning, you will take it off by the early afternoon.
If you begin a relationship during your senior year of college, it will be over by the end of your senior year of college.
There is no guarantee that this text will ever be answered, no matter what act structure your play follows.
Chekhov’s Art-Gallery Opening
For every one bottle of white wine you supply, .75 people will come.
If you have a sword in the first act, most people who come over will be pretty creeped out and ask a lot of questions. Where did you buy the sword? Why did you, a twenty-seven-year-old man, buy the sword? Has anyone else commented on the sword, and, if so, how did you respond?
Chekhov’s Grad-School Application
If you get your shit together and actually apply to grad school this time, you will soon be rewarded with a fulfilling, purposeful life!
If, in the first act, Chekhov’s Train leaves Boston for Washington, D.C., at 5:30 P.M., going a hundred miles per hour, it will, at some point, reach D.C.
Chekhov’s 3 Train
If the delay begins at Seventy-Second Street, someone will punch a stranger by the time the train arrives at Fourteenth Street.
Chekhov’s Bungee Jump
If someone begins a bungee jump in the first act, they will probably spring back to where they started a few moments later.
Chekhov’s Appetizer Sampler
If you split the wings, taters, and onion rings three ways and then split the bill, you will not feel that you got your money’s worth, and you will begin to quietly resent your married-couple friends who suggested this Buffalo Wild Wings in the first place.
Chekhov’s Gun Control
We’re already on, like, Act VI and this play blows.