A new Chekhov work based on a fragment of what is believed to be the writer's unfinished, first full-length play will premiere at MIT before heading to the Big Apple for the "Chekhov Now Festival."
"In This is the End of Sleeping," will have its MIT run Nov. 3-6 in La Sala de Puerto Rico at 8 p.m. with a cast of MIT and New York actors. Performances are free.
The play was adapted by Assistant Professor Jay Scheib of the Music and Theater Arts section. Scheib will direct the play as a highly physical, multimedia drama of bankrupt desire. It is based on a fragment discovered posthumously without a title page in a safe deposit box. Known now as "Platonov" or "the Play Without a Name" or "Fatherlessness," the play celebrates what Scheib calls Chekhov's "flight into naturalism."
"The early works of major writers attract me because they lack restraint in their daring endeavor to possess life," said Scheib, who calls the work "a masterpiece of unruliness and one of the great mysteries of Russian literature." Scheib's production of the play draws inspiration from the cinema veritÃ© and Russian filmmakers like Tarkovsky, "with a nod to crude reality television technology," he said.
In a statement about the play, Scheib calls it a "comic romance about loving each other and selling each other out."
Scheib was recently awarded the Presidential Certificate from Harvard University for his production of Alfred de Musset's "Lorenzaccio." He also was awarded a travel fellowship from the International Theatre Institute and the Theatre Communications Group to develop a performance with Pont Mubely Theatre in Budapest of Tolstoy's "Power of Darkness," a play developed at MIT with students last spring.
"In This is the End of Sleeping," will be performed in the Chekhov Now Festival at the Connelly Theatre in New York (200 East 4th St.) Nov. 12-13 at 8 p.m., Nov. 14 at 2 p.m., Nov. 17-18 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Call (212) 352-3101 for more information.