YEVGENIA Let him enjoy his bit of happiness . . . Everything we have is thanks to him.
MASHA I work too. You think I love teaching those teenage brats? And then I race back to this wilderness to see this house runs, scrubbing, polishing, cooking, weeding, planting, making sure he eats properly. Don’t talk to me about happiness. It’s for other people . . .
‘He’, of course, is Anton Chekhov, the central figure in Marina Carr’s bold new play, an Abbey Theatre Dublin Theatre Festival offering and a portrait of an enigmatic artist recounted in a new plain style. Her glimpses accumulate into an insight and new perspectives into the Russian author and the host of characters in orbit around him, among them his sister Masha, his parents, the brother who died, his wife and a lover. Tolstoy appears, as does the Black Monk, a supernatural shadowing figure, as Marina Carr shreds the veil of piety that can surround a beloved writer and, in an assembly of brushstrokes and individual chords, constructs a lament for lost and unfulfilled relationships.