Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chekhov, Chekhov, Chekhov

I can't escape Chekhov recently, which is a good thing. First, it was a trip to Asia and hanging out with a writer who's somewhat of a Chekhov "expert" (translator of his work into Chinese, producer of plays, critic). We had about 10 conversations about him and this expert had the uncanny ability to connect just about any literary topic to some play or short story by Chekhov.

Chekhov: he could be a Mile End hipster
And this article from The Millions about how reading Chekhov can make one more empathetic. They, in fact, issue a challenge to read Chekhov for a more empathetic 2014. The writers do caution, however, "that Chekhov doesn't provide easy answers to becoming a kinder, more caring person. There's no five-step solution, no short prayer that will increase your fortunes and lay waste to the fields of your enemies."

Still, if I do make any resolution (and I rarely do), it's related to books I will read. I haven't read Chekhov in many years and so he is on my list for 2014 (as is re-reading William Styron's Sophie's Choice and Thoreau).

Idea:  a great way to start the  year: see Chekhov on stage:

The Segal Centre is producing a new version of The Seagull by Peter Hinton but you only have two weeks to catch it as it runs February 02 to 16, 2014. Buy tickets here.

The tag line is "In the Winter, don't you wish Summer would go on forever?" and MAN can I relate to that right now (January, cold, blustery, grey).

The Millions writer suggests that Chekhov "doesn't make us better people by restoring our faith in the fundamental goodness of humanity or by charming us with the bright hope of a happy ending." And to me this is what a "good" writer does: create characters that somehow straddle our pat views of good vs evil or happiness vs unhappiness.

After the Segal's performance on the 10th, there will be a post-show opportunity to interact with the artists bringing the play to life.

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