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he (chekhov) insisted it (the cherry orchard) was a comedy.

{myself as anya with our lovely varya in chautauqua theatre co's production of the cherry orchard directed by ethan mcsweeny}

i went to look it up the other day.

the scene from the cherry orchard that i can't stop thinking about.

and there it was. page 382 of the plays of anton chekhov (the paul schmidt translation).

it's about ten lines long. takes up half the page.

it looks like nothing, this scene.

and yet, that was the scene that brought me to the wings each night. that was the scene i couldn't bear to miss.

the proposal. or rather the not proposal.

you see lopakhin goes in to propose to varya (who knows he's coming in to propose to her) and yet, it just, doesn't. happen.

but it's so full. the scene is so pregnant with the space around the words. with possibility. promise.

and so i would watch each night. from offstage. knowing how it would end. and yet hoping that maybe this time--maybe this time it might go just a little bit differently. that if varya turns around just a little bit sooner or if the final line comes just a little bit later--that it could all end... better.

i remember saying to the lovely gentleman who played our lopakhin (and who i was just ever so slightly, oh you know, just a little bit, in love with) just this once, actually do it. just this once propose, and let's see what happens.

and yet he didn't. he couldn't. and the emptiness that immediately follows the unimaginable fullness of those ten-or-so lines broke my heart night. after. night.

i've been doing this recently. standing in the wings of my own memories. watching the scenes replay. attempting to find the one variation that might just change it all. and thinking that if i can just get the actor playing yasha to call out for lopakhin a little bit later (or whatever my equivalent of that is) perhaps...

but chekhov was a genius. he knew what he was doing. and so i'm gonna choose now, in this moment, to trust that.


Lola said...

This post made me a bit teary eyed with understanding. I've been doing that lately too - rehashing, wondering if things would have been different if I had just or he had just. Every time I think I've finally reached acceptance something happens to remind me I'm not quite there yet.

Love the picture by the way. :)

karajean said...


Cas said...

Waiting in the wings is so hard.
And, yet, so completely natural, too.
And. If.
You can just hold steady.
On the balls of your feet.
As they rock forward in anticipation.
For just a moment longer.
It's the waiting.
That eventually make your own scenes.
Dance across the pages.
In their own time.

At least.
This is what I have to remind myself.
Every day.


Fairfield said...


That's all I can say.

denise said...

Whenever I watch Romeo & Juliet, I always hope Romeo doesn't take the poison and hope Juliet wakes up just a few seconds earlier to stop him. I guess these plays wouldn't be as renowned and loved, still today, if it wasn't for their heart breaking endings. As much as human beings love, love - they also love a little taste of heart break.

Emily said...

I've been doing that too - standing in the wings of my memories and wishing that I could change some moments, the tipping points, that moved my life in a certain direction when I wished it had gone another way.

The Rookie said...

You've outdone yourself here. I mean really. "but it's so full. the scene is so pregnant with the space around the words. with possibility and hope."

Not only do you capture why Chekhov is a genius at understanding we human beings and that awful beauty in disappointment and just...being, but you then go on to capture this idea, this feeling we've all felt before but maybe never verbalized in quite this way, the "standing in the wings of [our] own memories."

Though I've never met you, Meg Fee, one day I'm going to stand in line at The King's English in Salt Lake City, Utah (which, while you're in Utah, visit this quaint and lovely bookstore) waiting for you to sign my copy of your first novel.

Bravo. (Sorry I gushed over a bit there.)

sarah-lucy said...

you just blogged about theatre. go you :)

kathryn said...

Thank you, Meg. This was just what I needed to hear today. I've been doing a lot of that lately too...going back and replaying scenes in my mind, trying to figure out what went wrong in a relationship that just ended (in fact, I don't even think I can consider it a relationship). I keep thinking if I'd just said something different or tried to act differently, or if he hadn't handled things the way he did, then things could have turned out much differently.

I've just started reading, "The Power of Now." I'm trying to let go of the past and live in the "now." I'm learning to stop hurting myself by living in the past and having expectations about the way I think things should be. Trying to trust that things turn out the way that they do for a reason--the relationship didn't turn out the way I thought it should because it wasn't supposed to. I'm trusting that the universe hasn't forgotten about me and that when the timing is right things will work out...I'm rambling a little now, but I just want to say thank you for your inspiring blog. You put your feelings into words so eloquently. Your writing is beautiful and you always have something to say that makes me look at things a little differently. So, thank you!

Anna Banana said...

Hi, Meg.
You don't know me. But I assume on with this sort of thing that's alright.
Anyway, I read the Cherry Orchard about a month ago, having just fallen in love with our mutual friend (Anton, of course) while reading Uncle Vanya. I'm just so amazed, because it was that same seemingly inconspicuous scene that made me blink and read it again.
And then read it again and start to cry. For Anya, of course. For her false hopes.
For all those poor, bored people living their empty lives that they don't know how to fill up. For the cherry orchard and everything it symbolizes, because I knew it was going to be chopped down.
But mostly I cried for my little self because of my bored, empty little life and the choices I wasn't making to make it what I'd always dreamed it would be.
So thank you for following your passions and for your sensitive perception and your absolutely gorgeous writing style.
I feel like we're kindred internet blogging spirits now, and we should paint each other's cyber nails.

ALFIE said...

can i be honest?
this post gave me goosebumps.
the raw honesty is beautiful.
the truth that's here. the longing that we've all felt to want to change, even one second, to make our present so much different.

the realization that--everything has fallen into place as it should. the knowing that we have to trust blind. keep walking. never looking back. all the while still dreaming. hoping. and loving.

thank you for putting into words the thoughts of us all.

Jacob said...

this was a very great post- very well thought out!

Victoria said...

Such a beautiful post gorgeous girl! Just lovely!

ChrisKasper said...

I love this Meg! Reminds me I should read Chekhov again. I can just see you asking Lopakhin to change the line. That's part of the excitement and terror of doing theater (and life), the what if.....

ChrisKasper said...

PS That's me, Erica, not Chris, I must be signed into his gmail account!

Brittan said...

See, Meg, you should write about theatre more often! This post took me away for a second. I traveled somewhere while reading it, if that makes sense. That's powerful. Also, that picture is beautiful!