Anton Chekhov, it seems, provides excellent inspiration for contemporary Americans in his line of work. As if the Chekhov challenge asks the modern playwright to match him wit for wit and build on his premises.
Chekhov teases imitators, adaptors, translators and audiences with themes of grandeur and loss. His plays are shown on stages large and small each year; his works are mimicked in pastiches, like last season’s Stupid F**king Bird at the Pearl, or the upcoming Minor Character— in Brooklyn from June 17th-25th. In the latter, multiple versions of Uncle Vanya merge in a mist of millenial angst.
The Cherry Orchard is on sale again in the Roundabout’s 2016-17 season. Stephen Karam (whose The Humans, nominated for a Tony, continues at the Helen Hayes on Broadway) is rising to the Chekhov challenge in this adaptation. Simon Godwin will direct Diane Lane and an as yet unconfirmed cast.
From June 17-25th, Brooklyn-based Invisible Dog presents New Saloon, an Off Broadway troupe, in Minor Character. The 16 character play also rises to the challenge, by compiling 6 translations– from a 1916 edition to one from Google — of Uncle Vanya, that connect Chekhov with millenial angst.