So, it’s Chekhov and people are “bored;” bored with their unfulfilled lives and their provincial neighbors. But thanks to some skilled performances, “Ivanov” isn’t boring; it’s a humorous tragedy about unrealized dreams.
Nikolai Ivanov (Jeremy Fisher) is a bankrupt landowner who wallows in his failed aspirations. His tubercular wife Anna (Cyd Blakewell) remains faithful to her husband, even when he abandons her nightly to seek brighter society at the Lyebedev home with their lovely daughter Alexandra (Sue Redman).
The first act is muddled by exposition, but the second is a hoot and the third a powder keg. Fisher captures Ivanov’s desolation; his pain is genuine and heartfelt. Blakewell’s Anna is heartbreaking; she allows her blind belief in her husband to be her undoing. Redman’s attempts to spark life into her prospective lover are amusing and frustrating. Thanks to Sheldon Patinkin’s astute direction, the ensemble handles Chekhov’s abrupt mood swings with aplomb. (Lisa Buscani)
“Ivanov,” SiNNERMAN Ensemble, 3111 N. Western, (773)296-6024, through November 7.