Cite
 

Ivanov

By:Anton Chekhov
Adapted by:David Hare
Director:Gerald Gutierrez
Sets:John Lee Beatty
Costumes:Catherine Zuber
Lighting:James F. Ingalls
Sound:Aural Fixations
Opened:11/97 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater
Cast:Kevin Kline, Tom McGowan, Jayne Atkinson, Rob Campbell, Marian Seldes, Judith Hawking, Max Wright and Hope Davis

Boredom has never been so interesting. And with Kevin Kline packing this production with formidable star power, Chekhov's classic study of ennui reaches new levels of intrigue. Written by the playwright when he was only 27 years old, Ivanov follows a middle-aged estate owner who becomes disenchanted with his wife and his card-playing coterie. These gentry, gussied up in yards of floppy ruffles and rich velvet, are not afraid to go on and on and on about their dour lives. It's yada-yada-yada alright, but what could be more entertaining? Gutierrez's paradoxically lively production toes the marvelously fuzzy line between comedy and tragedy, stumbling rarely in its quest to contrast the hilarious with the harrowing. While indisputably the production's radiant core, Kline is in fine company; particularly outstanding are the luminous Jayne Atkinson as his tubercular wife and Max Wright as a bedraggled councilman. The plot follows two women — Atkinson and Hope Davis as the saucy Sasha — whose relationships with Ivanov swerve from fascination to annoyance. The performances are superb, and Gutierrez perpetuates his reputation as a master of details; everything from an expressionless servant's saggy sock to Kline's arresting intonation of the simple line, “We're so tired,” bears his inscrutable attention. The production's only dissonant notes comes at its violent, vaguely disappointing climax. Satirical and moving, Ivanov breathes fresh life into the jaded discourse of the privileged.