SYNOPSIS: In THE CHEKHOV DREAMS, Jeremy’s fiancée has it all – beauty, intelligence, beguiling charm. Unfortunately she’s also dead, but that doesn’t stop her from visiting him every night in his dreams. This blissfully aberrant arrangement unravels with the interference of Jeremy’s hedonistic brother and his overly enthusiastic acting scene partner, with whom he’s stuck working on a scene by Chekhov – the one writer he loathes. Worse yet, this actress is starting to arouse the jealousy of his betrothed just as she’s beginning to reveal her true powers. Jeremy’s fiancée may be to die for, but will he go that far?
The Chekhov Dreams is currently playing Beckett Theatre until February 17, and it is a humorous play that is not for every humor. A modern twist on Chekov’s The Seagull, its jokes rise and thrive on your literary knowledge, and how intellectually stimulated you need to be for a laugh. Thus, Chekhov Dreams is a particular play that commands a particular crowd.
While I certainly chuckled at a Robert Frost joke or giggled at a Jane Austen reference, from its beginning, Chekhov Dreams sets up that its wants a crowd with a certain knowledge. Written by John McKinney and directed by Leslie Kincaid Burby, for however much the play tries to be warm to all; it still only heats up those that LOVE classic novels and devour any chance for a pretentious snide. Now I do not judge! After all, everyone has a certain knowledge they like to promote to impress others, and Chekhov Dreams does so through literature.
With a perfect set by Scott Aronow and a charming cast, The Chekhov Dreams will spell-bind some theatre-goers and be bearable for others. Dana Watkins as Eddie and Charlotte Stoiber as Chrissy are sweet, and give their characters enough friendliness that you approach them in there current life hiccups. Elizabeth Ingraham is fierce as Kate; drawing upon charisma and conniving to assure that you still like her, despite feeling an undercurrent of villainy, Meanwhile, Christian Ryan as Eddie is a complete breathe of fresh air. He is the only character that everyone will laugh and revel in his definite, political incorrectness. Ryan plays him like the young, brash brother we all know, and makes him the one plot point we can all latch onto without knowledge of “who wrote what”.
At two hours, with a 15 minute intermission, The Chekhov Dreams’ first- half may wane a little bit in holding everyone’s interests. Yet, its second half is excellently paced, and grabs your attention, even more, in seeing how these characters’ end. You find yourself more invested in Jeremy and Chrissy’s comparisons to The Seagull’s Trigorin and Nina. Moreover, Rik Walter as Jeremy’s dreamed version of Chekhov does a lot to revive the play’s vigor. While Chekov is not, necessarily, known for his happier takes on life, Chekhov Dreams does a lot to lighten up perception on the Russian writer’s most famous works.
Yes, Chekhov writes a lot about the depressed, but he does it with the initiative to say, “You are not alone”. Whether you fall in love or indifferent to Chekhov Dreams, you will appreciate that, in the end, it is a story about not allowing yourself to go through life alone. When you reach out to others, even in your loneliness, they will reach back. For More Information On Chekhov Dreams Click Here. Location: Theatre Row | 410 W 42nd Street | New York, NY 10036