The Theatre: Bad Play in Manhattan

The Possessed (chiefly based on Dostoevsky's novel, adapted by George Shdan-off; produced by Chekhov Theatre Productions, Inc.). Ever since Dostoevsky first published his great novels, playwrights have gone about dramatizing them. The lure of powerful scenes, extraordinary characters, exciting dialogue is understandable but dangerous.

Last week Director Michael Chekhov, nephew of famed Playwright Anton Chekhov, offered a dramatization of Dostoevsky's The Possessed. Probably the worst of all attempts to put Dostoevsky on the stage, it reduced the vast forest of his imagination to dead, sapless stumps. One grotesque, blighted scene followed another. The...

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