Tag Archives: Anton Chekhov

But. . .But. . .But

Last month, Tiffany Antone put her writing heart on her sleeve on this blog. She kept coming back to the phrase but I’m not writing full length plays as she talked about everything she was doing—and she does some great stuff.

I totally understood her pain. She was going through the Buts. Yes, I have the buts too. I might be writing away and kicking ass on a new play,  but. . .but. . .but. I might have sat through a really successful production of a short play I wrote, but. . .but. . .but.

The Buts have caused me to start smoking (which creates real butts, hahahaha), drink too much, and curl up into a little ball with my eyes tightly closed and my fists clenched.

How do you fight the Buts? I do not recommend smoking, drinking too much, or curling up into a little ball. I fight the Buts by doing yoga (skipping the little ball part), sailing, and just plain getting on with it.

Sometimes, you just gotta get on with it and say, okay, what next? Actually, that might be a good phrase to counter punch the Buts. What next? Also what can I do now?

And Tiffany, don’t worry about them full length plays. According to Wikipedia, Chekhov wrote less than ten full length plays. Less than ten. Okay, so he was a prolific short story writer. Okay, so five of those plays are considered classics. Okay, so he was also a doctor. Okay, so he died young. Still, he did the work. Remember it’s quality not quantity. Insert inspirational quote here.

It’s your time now. What are you going to do with it?

16 Possible Glimpses by Marina Carr at the Abbey Theatre

This is not a review. Just my notes.

Last month, I was in Dublin and caught a preview of the world premiere of the latest Marina Carr play at the Abbey Theatre.

16 Possible Glimpses is an artistic impression of the life of playwright Anton Chekhov. Instead of writing a definite biography play, Marina Carr set out to write her own Chekhov, and she shows us a man who is both contradictory and painfully human.

Personally, I also thought her Chekhov was kind of sexy, and that is an adjective I never would have used about Anton Chekhov in the past. The structure of the play is nonlinear, so Chekhov dies in the beginning, then he’s onstage for the rest of the night. We see him resurrected again and again.

Carr’s Chekhov embraces a lot of people, and these physical connections make the missed connections in Chekhov’s tragic comedies even more tragic. How often we are afraid to embrace each other in life. Chekhov had TB and did not have the luxury of time, so he had to embrace as much as he could.

The play asks the question: what is a good man? How can one be both a good man and a good writer? There is a great scene where Chekhov is trying to write a story to pay the mortgage, but he is constantly interrupted by people needing him either in his family or as a doctor.

The production also incorporates video. By projecting the actors behind their physical selves, what is said and not said becomes more distorted as some phrases become overemphasized. It also allows glimpses of actors’ faces when they have their back to the audience or to other actors. The focus is not so much on the talker but on the listener.

As I witnessed the play in the tiny Peacock theatre, I thought about how a person’s life is really just glimpses and how fortunate that we got sixteen possible glimpses of Chekhov. By the way, the play doesn’t have sixteen scenes. Sixteen never comes up. It’s just a random number. Now, that’s really cool.

The production at the Abbey closed on October 29th. You can find out more about it here.