Charting the misery of his beloved Russia on the brink is Chekhov's artistry. He is adept at heartbreak, exposing the raw yearnings of those caught between desire and obligation. Broken people, broken relationships destroyed by inertia and indifference are his specialty.
The Pearl Theater's revival of Uncle Vanya illustrates this fine company's signature charm, and does one better, doing Anton Chekhov the good service of playing his tragicomedy for humor over gravitas.
During the intermission after the first uneven two acts of the Pearl Theatre Company's Uncle Vanya revival, I remarked to my astonished but extremely tolerant friend that Anton Chekhov's writing shines through no matter what is done to it.
You don't need to know Anton Chekhov's melancholy classics to giggle and guffaw at Vanya and friends, though some familiarity doesn't hurt. All you really need is the ability to laugh at human excesses, foibles and vanities.
"At that time if you were reasonably attractive, you didn't think 'oh I'm going to be a producer,' your focus is on acting. I did my first professional job when I was 14. I just fell in love with the theater and it just blossomed into a passion that never went away."