Ivanov is not as perfect a play as Chekhov’s Three Sisters (at Classic Stage) or The Cherry Orchard, which came later, but I enjoyed it even more — filled with fascinating and amusing characters, it spills over into a rambunctious panorama of life. That’s all the more amazing because — characteristically Chekhov — the characters like to proclaim that they’re “bored ” but the play is vital and engaging — how does he do it? One thing: the writing is marvelous. And in this Classic Stage production, the acting is superb, and Austin Pendleton’s naturalistic, soft-voiced direction highly effective in drawing you in and making you believe.
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