at City Lit Theater, Chicago, IL
March 2, 2010
To say Byelinkov and Varinka are an unlikely couple would be an understatement.
The free-spirited Varinka has ridden her bicycle all over town reveling in the excitement of being engaged to her love, Byelinkov, and receiving compliments at marrying the most respected man in town. Byelinkov lives his life in fear of change and being different; you could set your watch by his meticulous routine. When Byelinkov finds out Varinka was riding a bicycle, he bristles at what he believes is a public as an act of impropriety and revolution. When he mounts the bike to return it and spare the humility of anyone else seeing her riding it, he falls awkwardly to the ground. Thinking him adorable she giggles at him lying on the ground, but to him the laughter brings humiliation worse than mortal poison. He sends her away with the bicycle as he plans to never speak to her again.
Chekhov and Wasserstein combine to tell a moral tale that warns us of inhabitations and fears that keep us from living the fullest lives in happiness. And while we all know a person who suffocates his or herself in cases like Byelinkov, we are being asked to look at ourselves and see how our own hang ups hinder us from living.