Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
17 April 2010
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov wrote Platonov while he was still a student of medicine. The play did not have a title and was only discovered after his death; it was published as A Play Without a Title in 1923. Due to its length (the original text is around 160 pages and would run about eight hours), the play is usually performed in adapted form, often titled after the main character Platonov. A Play Without a Title is probably most interesting as a kind of “Chekhov before Chekhov”. Whereas the more familiar Chekhov usually “abolishes” the character of the hero, or else casts “life itself” as the protagonist, with individual characters as its prisoners, Platonov has quite a few melodramatic features. One summer, Platonov, an allegedly happily married provincial schoolmaster, becomes involved (almost against his will) in several love affairs at once. His lovers include General Voynitzev’s young widow (a landowner) and her stepson’s wife. Out of some desperate mischievousness he also flirts with other girls. All this eventually leads to a shooting. Yet the play doesn’t cast Platonov as a Don Juan. Rather, he is more of a Hamlet, unable to take a decision and thereby to liberate himself of a world ruled by common interests and seemingly frivolous carelessness, a world without any meaning and purpose.
12th International Theatre Festival ‘Melikhovskaya Vesna’, Chekhov
45th Maribor Theatre Festival