So we went to see the local production of The Seagull last night, and it more or less did everything you would want Chekhov to do. We're all such bad lit students that none of us knew the plot, other than it being the source of Chekhov's famous dictum that once a gun is brought onstage, it has to go off at some point. So we watched two relatively light acts, followed by two morose ones, waiting for the gunshot all the while. It also helped that the subject matter was so topical, one of the principal characters being a writer whose writing makes him miserable:
Here I am with you, I'm quite worked up, and yet not for a single moment do I forget that there's an unfinished novel waiting for me. I look over there and I see a cloud shaped like a grand piano. At once I think I must put it into some story or otherthe fact that a cloud looking like a grand piano has floated by. There's the scent of heliotrope in the air. I make a note: "sickly scent, flowerthe color of a widow's dressmention when describing a summer evening." I snatch at every word and sentence I utter, and every word you utter too and hurriedly lock them up in my literary pantry... I feel as though I'm devouring my own life, that for the sake of the honey I give to all and sundry I'm despoiling my best flowers of their pollen, that I'm plucking the flowers themselves and trampling on their roots.
At length the gun went off, in typically apocalyptic Russian fashion, and we went to the Sanctuary.
"They say Americans have no sense of tragedy," Marlowe said as we were leaving. "But damn it, Russians have no sense of comedy."
"Steve," I said, "that was a Russian comedy."
Meanwhile, Nik breaks the news that the long-delayed Tanya Donnelly album is finally out. Huzzah!