Tag Archives: Anton Chekhov

Cheks Mix: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike & Uncle Vanya, reviewed.

We’ve got an An-ton of Chekhov in DC just now, what with Arena Stage doing Christopher Durang’s Tony Award-winning, Chekhov-inflected Sonia and Masha and Vanya and Spike, while Round House Theatre has put together a sublime new Uncle Vanya, working from Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker’s recent translation of the play.

I review both of those in today’s Washington City Paper. I have seen Live Art DC’s staged-in-a-bar Drunkle Vanya yet, but it’s stumbling distance from my apartment so I should find the time.

FURTHER READING: My 2010 review of Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation. My 2011 review of Sydney Theatre Company’s Liv Ullmann-directed, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving-starring Uncle Vanya. My 2012 review of Baker’s The Aliens. My 2013 review of Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird, and its follow-up, from earlier, this year, Life Sucks, or the Present Ridiculous. Surely that’s more than enough.

Image

Reality Chekhov: Life Sucks, or the Present Ridiculous, reviewed.

I was excited to see Life Sucks, writer-director Aaron Posner‘s new variation on Anton Chekhov‘s Uncle Vanya, because my love for Stupid Fucking Bird, Posner’s 2013 gloss on The Seagull, was mean and true. And because I tend to like almost everything Posner does. My review is in today’s Washington City Paper. Continue reading

It Takes a Lotta Gull: Stupid Fucking Bird, reviewed

Doyle and Emma and Mash and Sorn

Doyle and Emma and Mash and Sorn

Of the stage productions that’ve moved me most in the five years or so that I’ve been semi-professionally paying attention to theatre in DC, a suspiciously high percentage of those have been directed by Aaron Posner. (His 2009 version of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia at the Folger Theatre remains my favorite thing that I’ve ever seen in a playhouse.)

Posner is the playwright, not the director, of Stupid Fucking Bird, his-flippant-but-faithful rejiggering of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, which opened at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company this weekend. (Woolly Mammoth founder Howard Shalwitz is its director.) The result is pretty goddamn delightful, as I aver in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free.

Biczar Love Triangle: Weaving & Blanchett Accent the Loopy Tragedy of Sydney Theatre’s Uncle Vanya

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh in the Syndey Theatre's UNCLE VANYA

Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull

Or you could go with the one my editor preferred, Tsar-Crossed Lovers. You tell me which one’s funnier.

In any case: The Sydney Theatre Company‘s star-stuffed 2010 adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, reviewed for the Washington City Paper.

Constellation’s Three Sisters, Give or Take

Amy Quiggins, Nanna Ingvarsson, and Catherine Deadman

Life is hard. Life is hard and long. Life is hard and long and cold and pointless, and so it shall be for our descendants a thousand years from now, until at last, perhaps, the mystery of creation is revealed. Until then, we must suffer and endure. Any respite from said suffering and endurance shall be brief, and shall chiefly take the form of alcoholism, gambling, infidelity, and should we be so lucky, duels.

No wonder Anton Chekhov thought his plays were comedies!

Constellation’s Theatre Company’s new production of his Three Sisters finds some levity amid its pervasive existential gloom, but not nearly enough of it to prevent this handsome but staid production from feeling like a march through the Russian winter. That isn’t automatically a reason to stay away, but we don’t feel the weight of its tragedy, either — the characters seem to be miserable mostly because their creator says so. The result, despite a handful of memorable performances, feels listless and underdeveloped. Continue reading