It has been a while since a full scale version of “My Fair Lady” – one of the truly superb American musicals – has been done around here. So, thank goodness this Ocean State production is a true winner, super in some ways and just fine in others.
Well, that's true. Written in 10 days when Chekhov, a newly minted physician, was 27, Ivanov has all the elements of the author's later greatness. It looks at an extended family of Russians as they struggle with their lives, their fortunes, their very honor.
The center point is one Nikolai Ivanov, a ne’er-do-well landholder, who felt he could conquer the world and then found himself accused of marrying for money. As middle-age approached he began to learn that he was a failure, and a well-meaning lout, too.
Written by a relatively unknown but fast-rising playwright, George Brant, this play flies high in many ways. It begins with our heroine, called “The Pilot,” rhapsodizing about being, well, a pilot. A fighter pilot, that is. A different breed.
Gowned, if that's the word, in a droopy pilot's one piece flight suit rippled with zippers and great big pockets, she appears on stage to the roar of a jet engine and tells you of the wonders of high, blue altitude. She calls her F-16 fighter, “Tiger” and says “he” “can feel the sky in me.”
When you enter Trinity Rep’s Dowling Theater these evenings you just can’t miss the mess. Designer Eugene Lee has outdone himself, creating a scene that looks like a teenager’s bedroom on a very bad day. The walls are covered with large carpets, all conflicting in tone and color. There’s a distinctly un-comfortable looking iron bed. Lamps from all eras abound. A Danish modern table, a keyboard from when, the 1960s, maybe? And above all is a huge crucifix, on which the murdered Jesus is nailed.