I find the issues Chekhov’s plays bring to mind to be interesting, to say the least. The pushing of a gender roles within society, the way the boundaries are pushed beyond what we knew of their roles at the time. Beyond gender inequalities, I found both plays “play” with anger and self-obsession and create a link to romance through those flaws. I believe that Chekhov is also making a statement about how love comes about, through either the young, or not so young. Chekhov makes apparent the “formula” for which Russians went about with marriage, and by looking at each play, I found that the formula stayed relatively the same.
Chekhov’s “The Proposal” ends in what we could call “romance”, but it takes a different path then what we’re used to. “The Proposal” starts off with a man (Ivan Vassilevitch) asking the father (Stepan Stepanovitch) for his daughters hand (Natalya Stepanovna). What was interesting about “The Proposal” was how Chekhov transfers his own personality, his thought-process into the play. By looking at the script, looking at how the characters interact with each other gives us an insight to Chekhov’s personality. The character’s inability to stay on track, to let their minds focus, resembles Chekhov’s own “inability” to stay on track, so to speak. I personally don’t see that in many plays, or books. I haven’t seen that type of translation of personality from author to written work, and I found it entertaining for the most part.
LOMOV: If I give myself time to think, to hesitate, to talk a lot, to look for an ideal, or for real love, then I’ll nev
er get married. — The Proposal, Anton Chekov
When I initially read The Proposal, I seen it was geared towards being a comedic romance play, but Chekov had also riddled “The Proposal” with issues that are brought to light while looking at the human condition. The above quote is one such issue within the human condition. The issue has plagued humanity for as long as history has been recorded. The issue being the fear of a non-existent “enemy”, and it’s the issue that gives “The Proposal” the basis for its story. Chekov cleverly pokes fun at the ideals
of the people of the time, he pokes fun at their idea of getting married for material gain, rather than true love. In its core, that above quote from “The Proposal” reflects the issue. Above everything else, the characters fear that they won’t get married, and its because of this that they’d rather throw away any chance of true love over just getting it over with. It’s through this issue within the human condition that Chekov creates his comedy.
I’d now like to take a little time and talk about the cast of “The Proposal”. Directed by Alanna Negri, “The (Wedding) Proposal” was a well directed play. When reading the script, and then watching the play, I was blown away by the actors performance. Each of the 3 actors (Karlie, Riley and Jeremy) filled the roles perfectly and embodied the images that I had for each character. Beyond the wonderful theatrics of Jeremy as Stepan Stepanovitch, I found Karlie Christie to embody her role as Natalya Stepanovna the best. She conveyed the independence, and strong-will that Natalya Stepanovna would have displayed herself, at the time. All in all, the cast of “The Proposal” did an excellent job of portraying the characters which made the play easy, and enjoyable to watch.
All in all, I’ve found the plays to be humorous, and insightful. Above anything, it allowed me to appreciate the little things just a bit more. Beyond that, I found enjoyment in watching the plays. Before anything else, I found each character to have a sense of depth, for the most part. The cast for both plays were wonderful, and they really fulfilled any and all expectations I had for them. When I looked past the cast, I found the script to be clever too. I didn’t get to appreciate the full scope of what the script is saying by just reading through it once, so I’m glad I got to watch the play as well.
Mr. Waffle’s Score
The Proposal: 8/10
Actor - Character
Karlie Christie - Natalya Stepanovna
Riley Gilroyed – Ivan Vassilevitch
Jeremy Laurence – Stepan Stepanovitch
Thomas St. John – Grigory Stepanovitch Smirnov
Heather MacMillan – Elena Ivanovna Popona
Denis Foss – Luka
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