"Chekhov: Take 2" -- "Four Jokes + One Funeral", 1904 Anton's death (new one-act): last day, last hour. Six years since I directed "The Three Sisters" (why now and why the farces?)
Annensky about Chekhov (in Russian, the summer read), I envy the style -- very personal, almost if he himself wrote the play, as if he knows them, Masha, Olga, Irina... The secondary characters became the heroes, the jerks, the types from the comedies -- and we got the tragedy, Beckett only finished this journey... Now -- The American Chekhov!
KULYGIN. Well, today the officers will be gone and everything will go on in the old way. Whatever people may say, Masha is a true, good woman. I love her dearly and am thankful for my lot!... People have different lots in life... There is a man called Kozyrev serving in the Excise here. He was at school with me, but he was expelled from the fifth form because he could never understand ut consecutivum. Now he's frightfully poor and ill, and when I meet him I say, "How are you, ut consecutivum?" "Yes," he says, "just so --consecutivum"... and then he coughs.... Now I've always been successful, I'm fortunate, I've even got the order of the Stanislav of the second degree and I'm teaching others that ut consecutivum. Of course I'm clever, cleverer than very many people, but happiness doesn't lie in that... [a pause].
[ back to 3 Sisters ]
Chekhov: "One must be a god to be able to tell successes from failures without
making a mistake."
@2001-2005 shows *
August 20 1904
Darling. I have just come back from seeing your brother, Ivan, I upset him by telling him about your last days but I felt it was good for him, even if it was distressing. And I could talk about everything, about you for ever, about Badenweiler, about something great, grand that occurred in that rich, emerald-green town in the Black Forest. Do you remember how we loved our carriage rides, our 'Rundreise', as we called them? You were so affectionate, I understood you so well at times like that. Do you remember how you would discreetly take my hand and squeeze if, and when I asked if you were all right, you would say nothing, just nod and give me a smile for an answer With what reverence I sometimes kissed your hand! You would hold my hand for a long time and so we drove through a fragrant pine wood. Your favourite spot was a lush, green glade, filled with sunlight. A stream babbled splendidly along a ditch and you kept telling the driver to drive more quietly, taking delight in a large expanse of fruit trees that stood in the open and weren't fenced in, and no one took or stole a single cherry or pear. You recalled our own, poor Russia... Do you remember the charming mill, so low it was completely hidden in the thick greenery and only the water sparkled on the wheel? How you liked the comfortable, clean villages and little gardens with the regulation rows of white lilies, rose bushes and kitchen gardens! And with what pain you said: Dearest, when will our peasant farmers live in little houses like these!
Dearest, dearest one, where are you now ? ...