The set in Charles Newell's staging for Court Theatre, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architect Leigh Breslau, provides the perfect metaphor for Chekhov's heartbreaking, hilarious work. Breslau's soaring M.C. Escher-ish jungle gym of stairs and platforms provides plenty of opportunities for obstruction as well as aeries for contemplation. It's a bold, smart way to frame a story about people who yearn, bicker, and scramble for meaningful work--only to end up back where they started. Kevin Gudahl's Vanya is a charming mess, Timothy Edward Kane's Astrov is feckless and anguished, and Elizabeth Ledo's tomboy Sonya is every good-hearted woman who deserves great love--and will never find it. The aesthetic is minimalist, but the emotional palette is rich. --Kerry Reid a Through 2/11: Wed-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 and 7:30 PM. Special schedule 1/25-1/27: Thu 8 PM, no show Fri, Sat 8 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art, theater, 220 E. Chicago, 773-753-4472, $36-$54.