Acclaimed playwright and novelist Michael Frayn initially rose to prominence in his British homeland writing satirical columns, first for Manchester Guardian and later for The Observer. His early books were compilations of his columns, but he soon graduated to autobiographical novels like "The Russian Interpreter" (1966) and "Toward the End of the Morning" (1967), the latter chronicling his days as a Fleet Street journalist. Though he had co-scripted "Zounds!" for the Cambridge University Footlights while a student, it had failed to move to the West End as expected, so his first professional production was "The Two of Us" (1970), four playlets performed by Richard Briers and Lynn Redgrave. Trained by the British Army to speak Russian, he has used his expertise most frequently to translate Chekhov's plays, beginning with the National Theatre's "The Cherry Orchard" (1977), followed by "Wild Honey" (1984), "The Three Sisters" (1985), "The Seagull" (1986) and "Uncle Vanya" (1987).