Friday, September 11, 2009

Play of the Week: The Man in the Case

The Man in the Case
adapted by Wendy Wasserstein
after a short story by Anton Chekhov

Byelinkov and Varinka are but are the most unlikely couple. Today she has ridden her bicycle all over town reveling in the excitement of being engaged to her love and receiving compliments at marrying the most respected man in town. Byelinkov lives his life in fear of change and being different. Everything has its place and you could set your watch by his routine. Once Byelinkov finds out Varinka was riding a bicycle, he bristles at what he believes is a public as an act of impropriety and revolution. When he mounts the bike to return it and spare the humility of anyone else seeing her riding it, he falls awkwardly to the ground. She laughs at how adorable, but to him the laughter comes at the expense of his humiliation and is worse than mortal poison. He sends her away with the bicycle as he plans to never speak to her again.

Chekhov and Wasserstein a moral tale that warns us of inhabitations and fears that keep us from living the fullest lives in happiness. And while we all know a person who suffocates his or herself in cases like Byelinkov, we are being asked to look at ourselves and see how our own hang ups hinder us from living.

Happy Birthday: Rainis (1865-1929) and Jennifer Tipton (born 1937)
September 12: Sir Ian Holm (b. 1931)

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