Theater: Jangled Soul-Music

Ivanov. Chekhov's anti-heroes lead lives of tragic farce. Where the Marx Brothers once chopped up a train (in Go West) and fueled the engine with the kindling in order to keep going, Chekhov's pinched landowners would rather die than chop down their forests. They have champagne tastes—intellectually and spiritually—on vodka incomes. Their hearts are even emptier than their purses. The title character of Chekhov's first full-length play, a man in paralytic despair, candidly performs a self-autopsy: "I haven't the heart to believe in anything. I hope for nothing, care for no one. I only dread the thought of waking up...

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