Ivanov | Piven Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Ivanov Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 29 2014

The title character of Anton Chekhov's 1887 play is a bankrupt landowner gripped by depression, self-loathing, and deluded false memories of his imagined youthful idealism. He's wed to a dying woman he no longer loves—if he ever did; he had married Anna for her money, but her family cut her off when she converted from Judaism to Christianity to become his wife. This was Chekhov's first play, and it's a somewhat ungainly work. It's marred by a melodramatic climax, and its juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy—a hallmark of Chekhov's genius in such later masterpieces as Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard—sometimes feels awkward. But its depiction of middle-aged people gripped by self-pitying narcissism, boredom, banality, and gossipy malice is strikingly resonant today, and in this intimate, bare-bones, modern-dress staging by Joyce Piven (working from a 2009 adaptation by Sheldon Patinkin), it's a fine vehicle for dynamic ensemble acting. The cast includes the charismatic Dan Smith as Ivanov and Gita Tanner as Anna, Aayisha Chanel-Humphrey as a young woman whose love seems to offer Ivanov a second chance at happiness, and Kathy Ruhl and Stephen Fedo as the young woman's parents. —Albert Williams

Price: $20-$30

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