"Ivanov! Are you kidding? My goodness, of all the plays in the world, this is what your theater company has decided to open with!"
I think these are the exact words I used when Emily told me that this is the play HTTC had selected. Not having a degree in performance or anything related to theater may be the reason. However, an effort on my part has been made to learn all I can about the work my own children pursue. My feelings were based primarily on the other Chekov work I already knew about .... mainly The Three Sisters (of which I have very much of an opinion) and a little about The Cherry Orchard. So, I got a copy of Ivanov and went at it.
The more I read the more perplexed I became. What is so great about this play? I actually could not stand the characters and I'm not sure I can now. I also learned that HTTC was presenting this as a comedy! My Gosh! I didn't see it. I would definitely have to read the play again! I didn't want to read that play again! For heaven's sake!
I expressed my feelings to Emily and discussed the play with her. Emily's sister had to listen to me rant and rave as well as my own siblings. But it gets worse, anybody that would give me the time of day I would talk to about this play. I even made a deal with a friend that I would read Fifty Shades of Grey if they would read Ivanov and then discuss it with me. Everybody but Lisa (Emily's sister) shared my opinion that Ivanov was just a whining play about a bunch of men not getting their way.
One day I was continuing the discussion with Emily on the phone and she said to me, "Mama, if it evokes this much emotion from you it must have meant something." Well, it took a lot of thought and consideration but I finally came to the conclusion that maybe there was something to that. Was it that I just didn't want them to open a new theater company with that play or what?
Since that time I have decided to agree with the theory that Chekov's work has stood the test of time. This play could easily have been set in today's time anywhere in the world. I am actually visualizing a rendition of Ivanov in south west Georgia. It could be done, I'm sure! What's more, it would probably be a great comedy!
Apparently, I don't know anything because a prominent classical theater company in New York has also decided to open with Ivanov in October. This is just another example of my lack of knowledge with plays. I probably will not attend that production but I don't have to because I have kept up with HTTC and all the work they have done. There is no doubt in my mind this will be the BEST Ivanov ever! All the emotion that has been evoked from this brief study will guide me through the production. Perhaps my views will change. Regardless, of how I view the characters I will love every minute of the play. I can't wait!