I caught this quote board image in my Twitter feed last week. Though I believe Landau is referring to her work with devised theater, where the givens are largely negotiation among collaborators and the various texts they bring into the rehearsal room, I think the idea about the play-world being “an entirely new universe,” “invented from scratch” and “belonging to this piece and no other” is still applicable to processes that start with the givens of a published script.
As Jeff has mentioned multiple times in rehearsal, there are going to be very divergent opinions on this production and what we’ve “done” with Chekhov. But there’s a key preposition in that phrase, “done with Chekhov.” We have invested our attention into his words and the world they make possible in full view of acres of past productions all the way back to the first collaboration with MAT. We have taken our cues from that history and responded to the new, specific context of our production. There will be those who might call it sacrilege. There will be those for whom this production will be transformative. And even those for whom this production will be their first experience of the play/playwright. All we can do now is trust that the investments in textual study, historical research, physical training, and collaborative character building will pay off in ways we know, we hope, and we can answer for.