Peter, Valerie, and Richard and I saw this Chekhov play at BAM on 2/19. The production was from St. Petersburg, in Russian (with titles) - - I thought, Chekhov in Russian, what could be more authentic? The first act started slow, but interesting. The director stressed the surreal aspects of the play, which appealed to me.
Peter, Valerie, and Richard left at intermission. It was too slow and boring for them. Richard said, "I think it took us less time to fly to Australia." I stayed - - I was intrigued to see where it went.
Valerie had read the NY Times review, which said it started slower but got better. That's not what I saw: it started slow and got SLOWER. So slow, slower than Sarah Vaughan singing "I'll be seeing you":
But here's the difference: Sarah Vaughan weaves a spell, she draws you in, it's freakin' hypnotic. It's indulgent, yes, but it's totally sincere and thrilling and virtuosic. This production of *The Cherry Orchard* was indulgent, but not generous. It held me at arm's length, it did not draw me in. The worst directorial choice was having one of the characters sing "My Way" at what I thought was the end of the play (false hope, there were miles to go before the end). Awful. Director Lev Dodin thought he was smarter than Chekhov. I got news for you, sweetheart - - you're not.