Monthly Archives: October 2013

Plot and Performance

How much should plot matter in a play? In a novel? Is plot a more important driving force for a reader than an audience These are the questions that I consider as I close the Kindle on Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths. I have had a hard time getting into it, and yet, it’s considered a classic […]

Godfather of Absurdism

I mentioned in a previous post, how I thought Chekhov foreshadowed absurdism. Having now read and watched The Cherry Orchard, I a even more confirmed in that opinion. Among the characters are a maid who thinks she’s a lady, a maladroit clerk, a man who talks as though he’s shooting billiards at random intervals, a governess […]

Waiting for Moscow

If you needed any more evidence that Chekov and Beckett are cousins, then simply look to The Three Sisters. It could just as easily have been titled Waiting for Moscow, which, like Godot, never materializes, and in the time spent waiting, nothing happens.  Oh, of course, there are events, Andrei marries, Masha and Vershinin fall in love, […]

Chekhov the Buddhist

Chekhov’s play The Seagull, seems to be a classic illustration of the Buddhist aphorism that desire is the cause of all suffering, and their inability to get what the desire leads to destruction, in some form or another. Of course, it is the most self-aware characters that experience this the most. Masha, with her famous opening […]

Appreciating Vanya

I just watched the 1991 BBC production of Uncle Vanya, and I’ve come away with a new appreciation of the play, and not just because it features the gorgeous Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Previous productions I’d seen came off as whiny. A bunch of bored nincompoops moaning about their boredom, their hypochondria, their drab lives, etc. I’ll […]