Two by Friel (After Chekhov) | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Two by Friel (After Chekhov) 

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If the two one-acts here are any indication, Irish playwright Brian Friel doesn't get Chekhov. In The Yalta Game he takes ill-advised liberties with "Lady With Lapdog," an immaculate short story about a jaded roue's seduction of a lonely married woman. While Chekhov builds drama by pinpointing outward signs of inner torment, Friel's infatuated duo catalog their emotional lives exhaustively, squandering all the story's drama and irony. In The Bear Friel reworks an early farce about the collision between a histrionic grieving widow and a boorish landowner, making Chekhov's self-described "stupid vaudeville" overbroad if occasionally funny. The cast is uneven in Irish Repertory's handsomely designed, swiftly paced production, with the best of the performers struggling to find depth in these scripts. Through 10/16: Wed-Fri 8:30 PM, Sat 5:30 PM, Sun 3:30 PM. Victory Gardens Theater, first-floor studio, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000. $34-$38.

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