Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) was born in Taganrog, a port city in southwestern Russia, less than 100 kilometers from the border of present-day Ukraine. Chekhov’s grandfather was a serf who had bought his family’s liberation before the end of serfdom in 1861, young Anton grew up largely in poverty and paid his way through medical school in Moscow by writing short humor vignettes centered on daily Russian life. In 1887, a theatre manager commissioned Chekhov to write a play, the result of which was Ivanov. Chekhov followed that play with four more that would go on to become pillars of modern drama: The Seagull (1895), Uncle Vanya (1897), Three Sisters (1900), and The Cherry Orchard (1903). He died from tuberculosis at the age of 44, leaving behind a body of work that spanned poems, plays, short stories, and novellas.