‘Unrequited: A Chekovian Collision’ explores the messy side of Chekov
This Friday and Saturday, SCAD performing arts graduate students Allison Nicole Smith and Mary May will perform their original show, “Unrequited: A Chekovian Collision,” at Crites Hall, Room 313, at 8 p.m. each day.
The performance will combine four of Anton Chekov’s most popular plays, “Uncle Vanya,” “The Cherry Orchard,” “The Seagull” and “The Three Sisters,” into an hour-long experience. “It’s very much like a fringe festival show…it will be very simple, just the two of us on stage,” said Smith.
The idea of the performance originated from the duo’s love of Chekov. “There really isn’t enough Chekov on campus and so we thought, ‘Why not combine all of his plays into one play?’ And so we did,” Smith said.
Throughout the show, Smith and May switch between playing themselves and Chekov characters. May performs all of the female roles and Smith plays the male roles. “Being a woman, sometimes you think ‘There aren’t enough roles for me,’ so this is giving me an opportunity because I relate more to the men [in Chekov’s plays] than the women,” Smith said.
Around the time that they created the play, the two each went through huge life changes, which influenced the way they used Chekov to express themselves. “Chekov is all about unrequited love,” Smith said. “I needed to tell a story about love and relationships right now. As artists, we wanted to make a connection and remind people they aren’t alone in their search for love.” Her characters revolve around the mantra of never letting anything go while May’s characters believe it is fine to let go of everything.
Smith hopes that people who have never experienced Chekov before will take away from the show “that Chekov is very relatable,” Smith said. “Chekov is messy and not precious. [The show] is a human experience and humans are messed up beings. Nothing is ever going to be perfect and that’s okay…You have to be braced and accept that you are a walking Jackson Pollock painting.”
“Unrequited: A Chekovian Collision” is free to SCAD students.
By Elena Burnett.