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The life and times of Anton Chekhov

ROMESH CHANDER

Director Mushtaq Kak's "Chekhov In My Life" presented recently revealed many aspects of the famous Russian dramatist and storyteller's life.



BEAUTIFUL DRAMATISATION A scene from "Chekhov In My Life"

`Chekhov In My Life' based on Lydia Avilov's autobiography and directed by Mushtaq Kak for SRC Repertory Company was indeed a very pleasant experience in as much that it brought to us many aspects of Chekhov's life that most theatregoers are perhaps not aware of, as for instance, some biographical data about Chekhov's famous play "The Seagull" that "has exercised the ingenuity of many critics whose guesses about the origin and some characters in the play have been wide off the mark".

The presentation is a beautiful dramatisation by Amrish Saxena who is currently working with SRC Repertory and Ifra Mushtaq that not only captures the salient points of Lydia Avilov's autobiography but what is more its language has a flow that immensely helps the actors.

Briefly, the play is a story of Lydia Aviov's 10 years relationship with Chekhov as told through Lydia's memoirs and beautifully captured on the stage by the director Mushtaq Kak in a theatrical language that is totally different from his earlier style of presentation. It had to be so for Lydia in her autobiography moves between the past and the present and vice-versa. Mushtaq Chekhov, as it were, sees the play through her eyes.

By and large, the director, to carry through his overall production design, has good support from his cast. Mushtaq has two different actors to play Avilov, the biographer, Rakhi Mansha when Lydia was young and Deksha Thakur when she was old. They both play well but Rakhi has an edge over Deksha because of her characterisation. Another good performance comes from Sanjay Kumar Singh.

But some of the cast need a few more rehearsals, particularly the actor who played Chekhov, and surely one does not wear a tie in a sick bed!

"Chekhov In My Life" should find a permanent place in SRC Repertory's repertoire and is a must for something fresh and new on the Delhi stage.

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