We opened The Seagull last night with no idea what to expect. Would anyone laugh watching a play where people go around talking about how miserable they are, and which ends disasterously? Yes, as it turns out, and often. Perhaps everyone left the show feeling depressed- -that's rumored to be the usual Chekhov experience. People tend to grit their teeth before slogging into the theater for Chekhov, and this may explain why Chekhov is so rarely done out here in the west -- we like our theatre bouncy, and corny and just as high elephant's eye. OK! This is why I am now bursting into song, so you will get in the proper mood, not depressing at all. The opposite of depressing. Come on, now, everyone, sing!
Anton Chekhov! Where the tears come blowin' with the rain
Where the grown ups sigh, the lovers cry,
And the laughs come right before the pain.
Anton Chekhov! Ev'ry night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch 'em squawk
Makin' lazy circles in the rye.
We know we are trapped on the land,
And the land we belong to is bland,
And when we say Yeeeow! Aipeoeeay!
We're only sayin'
You're doing fine, Anton Chekhov,
Anton Chekhov, OK!
You can sing along here, and in costumes which look quite a bit like our Seagull's.
And you might as well come along and see our show too. Trust me, it's the opposite of boring. There is something worth paying attention to every single second. There's hardly a laugh with out a tear, hardly a tear without a laugh. As a gentleman not of my acquaintance said to me after the show last night, you have the tragedy, and you have the comedy, and you can't let go of either of them. There you have it. You're doing fine, Anton Chekhov, OK!