Absolutely chekhov one-act plays by and about Anton Chekhov (Soulpepper).
Check out Susan Coyne and her fascination with playwright Anton Chekhov. One of the founders of Soulpepper Theatre, Coyne can't escape the grip of the Russian writer. Nor, for that matter, can the company. In the past several seasons, they've staged -- and remounted -- stellar productions of his classic Uncle Vanya and the lesser-known Platonov.
Coyne and director Laszlo Marton adapted the latter, and Coyne played one of the women who swirl romantically around the womanizing title figure.
For its season finale, Soulpepper reaches into the more arcane areas of the writer's canon for Absolutely Chekhov, composed of a series of what he termed "vaudevilles" -- short, farcical pieces with undercurrents of troubling emotion. Adapting the quartet of works are a slew of heavyweight Canadian playwrights, including Jason Sherman, Adam Pettle, David French and Michael Healey.
And rounding out the evening is a new piece by Coyne and Sherman, The Old Business. A slice of imagined biography, it takes place on the opening night of Chekhov's The Seagull, which proved to be a disaster.
It's not only the production that's calamitous. At the same time the work is getting catcalls, Chekhov has to ward off two people who accuse him of plundering their lives to create characters in the play. Diego Matamoros plays Chekhov, with Nicole Underhay as one of the playwright's former lovers and Victor Ertmanis as his producer. Leah Cherniak directs.
Hope the show captures that blend of comedy and heartbreak that makes Chekhov's works so piquant.