A Mother’s Blog
The title of this blog was my first reaction after reading Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov. I imagined Anna walking around in the evening singing, “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone”. In particular, singing “Why don’t you stay the evening” at the top of her lungs!
My daughter is Patricia Lynn, the director of HTTC’s production of Ivanov. Her interpretation is that Ivanov is a comedy. A comedy?!? Really? My God…what a group of characters! My character descriptions would be:
Ivanov: Woe is me!
Anna: Sometimes love just ain’t enough
Lvov: My middle name is “Holier than thou”
I must be missing something. So I read it again. I actually bought the Monarch Notes and read them, followed by reading the play a third, fourth and fifth time, as well as highlighting key scenes. And I called on those old skills I never reallyused when doing assigned reading and writing papers back in high school and college. I needed to read the play not as I saw the characters, but as they would be portrayed on stage.
More importantly, I needed to pay better attention to those characters in the background - the Count, the mix of personalities that the Lebedyev family bring to the stage, the sad but sweet Martha. I found that as I read it the third, fourth and fifth time, I didn’t pay as much attention to Ivanov, Anna or Lvov. I slowed down when reading the card game and related it to some of the crazy card games my family has had. I chuckled at the thought of someone shouting “Fetch some jam! Gooseberry or something!”--a line I missed the first couple of reads. I imagined the character reentering with the jam not as one would expect. My favorite aunt would do something like that. With that, I started feeling better about the play. It is about life and we all have a little of Ivanov, Anna and Lvov in us.
I have the advantage of knowing some of the fine actors who will be playing these roles. I have met many in person, socialized a bit with several, and have been marveled by all of their acting in numerous productions. My conclusion: I’m sorry, Ivanov, Anna, and Lvov. I judged you too quickly and too harshly. I have sympathy for Ivanov because like all of us at times, life is not the way we imagined. I hope he found some happiness while in the company of the other characters who are charmingly fun and entertaining. My feelings toward Anna are bittersweet. We all have known and loved someone like Anna. I take comfort in knowing that Ivanov truly loved her, but will let you come to your own conclusions about that. As with Ivanov, we all have a little Lvov in us. He is young and in love, so we need to give him a break as well. And I like to think that a few years after the play ends, Lvov did finally become a cowboy.
So do you agree? Does Ivanov need a few more cowboys? Comment and let us know!