Theater producer André Bishop

       Ivanov’s first full dress rehearsal went quite well. The scenery and music cues were well routined and smoothly executed. The lighting is clear and bright–odd only in Act 2 (where is the light coming from, exactly?)–they’ll fix it. The costumes are real and muted, not at all showy. The acoustics, with carpeting now installed in the Beaumont for the first time, are the best ever. No echoes, no patches of inaudibility, and no accents (British or Southern) to muck it up. The acting was potentially great; the secondary parts are so juicy! Some actors are further along than others, of course. After the run-through, Gerry Gutierrez reminded the company of something that all actors forget: Talking comes from thinking, and you do not break up a classical text with all sorts of naturalistic pauses (so tempting in Chekhov). You follow the thought–and therefore the line–to its end.
       The wigs and facial hair were not ready; nor was the blood effect for Ivanov’s suicide; nor was the gunshot. So the hair and special-effects police are out in full force.
       There is a funny play about Hollywood called Geniuses by Jonathan Reynolds, in which the blond valley girl heroine named Skye Bullene tries to be “sensitive” by keeping two diaries at the same time–one for her thoughts and one for her feelings. What I think and feel at this point in a play’s process is only what I can hope for: an exciting, audacious, high-pitched production of Chekhov’s first play, an uneven, raw, fascinating work that can (in David Hare’s adaptation) stand on its own while foreshadowing the late great plays.