The Theater: The Patient Is the Disease

When one attends a Chekhov play, one does not, strictly speaking, go to the theater. One drops in on life. No stethoscope is needed to detect the heartbeat of existence. Chekhov may be the best imaginable argument for a playwright's having some other occupation.

As a physician, Chekhov focused on life instead of zeroing in on a desk, a blank piece of paper and some obsessive fantasy or other. As a doctor, he knew that to some degree the patient is the disease. A doctor with a tragic sense is aware that all of his...

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