December 26, 2013 |
"Hollywood Seagull" isn't the first movie adaptation of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull. " Nor is novelist-turned-filmmaker Michael Guinzburg the first to think of updating the classic Russian play. The film's conceit of reimagining 19th century playwrights as modern-day filmmakers has likewise been beaten to the punch by Claude Miller's 2003 treatment of the same manuscript, "La Petite Lili. " Guinzburg's effort skews toward the old. He appoints the protagonist's frail grandfather - originally an uncle per Chekhov - as the narrator.
July 24, 2013 |
Welcome to Russia, Edward Snowden! Here's a disturbing Russian novel, just to give you a sense of what you've gotten yourself into. The NSA leaker, stuck in a legal limbo in Moscow's international airport for a month now, was able to meet a Russian lawyer for the first time today. The lawyer came bearing a gift : a copy of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's classic 1866 novel “Crime and Punishment.” Said novel, for the uninitiated (and it really is one of those books you have to read before you die)
June 14, 2013 |
Six months after her husband's death, Olga Knipper, famed actress and widow of Anton Chekhov, is gearing up to face an audience again. In a dimly lighted rehearsal hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, with two other actors, she prepares to resume her life onstage. Her monologue from "The Cherry Orchard," though, is not coming out right. She fears that grief has destroyed her capacity to feel. Outside a graver crisis is erupting. A march of workers ended in a massacre. Actors from this company may have been killed.
December 15, 2012 |
Could the theater artist of 2012 really be … Samuel Beckett? Well, the 1969 Nobel Prize winner had stiff competition this year from Anton Chekhov, dead for more than a hundred years but more alive than ever onstage. Chekhov's early play "Ivanov" received a sensational Bart DeLorenzo production at the Odyssey Theatre in April, and I caught "Uncle Vanya" twice last summer in New York, once at Soho Rep with a cast of offbeat luminaries directed by Sam Gold and once at New York City Center in a Sydney Theatre Company production starring the preternaturally luminous Cate Blanchett.
August 4, 2012 |
NEW YORK - Anton Chekhov is always with us in the theater. But this summer his work has been especially prevalent, serving as an inspirational model for such contemporary playwrights as Tracy Letts, Andrew Upton and Annie Baker. Having recently returned from a stifling hot busman's holiday in New York where I saw two productions of "Uncle Vanya," the Baker adaptation at Soho Rep and the Upton adaptation courtesy of the Sydney Theatre Company at the Lincoln Center Festival starring Cate Blanchett, I can't help pondering the meaning of this Chekhovian preponderance.
April 18, 2012 |
"Ivanov," the play in which Anton Chekhov was still testing the formula for his dramatic breakthrough, is usually revived in somberly autumnal shades. So the opportunity to see the play thrillingly brought to life in brazen color, courtesy of director Bart DeLorenzo, is one that no serious aficionado of modern classics should pass up. A co-production between DeLorenzo's the Evidence Room and the Odyssey Theatre, where the show opened last weekend, this deliciously vivid, deliriously accelerated staging respects both the gravity and gaiety of Chekhov's 1889 play (nimbly translated by Paul Schmidt)