The first draft of The Chekhov Dreams goes as far back as 2004, when its author, John McKinney, began to experiment with the use of opposing subtext (saying things directly contrary to one's feelings) as a dramatic device for his plays, a technique he first came to admire through his study of Chekhov's masterworks.  The play was more of an absurdist black comedy back then than a romantic one, and despite its very successful workshop performance in 2005, he knew there was a much richer play that lied underneath. So he began to rewrite it. 

 

And rewrite it.  And rewrite it.  

 

Each time a scene was improved, other scenes began to compare unfavorably and were themselves rewritten, and so on, until some seven years later when the completely rebuilt story was given a barebones workshop production at the WorkShop Theater in midtown. (John was still nowhere near ready to call it "finished.") Despite almost nonexistent publicity, word got around and somehow or other the play managed to earn two NYIT Award nominations, including one for Outstanding Original Full Length Script. In addition, a monologue from the play was selected by Smith & Kraus for their anthology of Best Men's Stage Monologues for 2013.

 

Not bad for a rough draft.

And yet, John continued to rewrite it.  Update it.  Modernize it.  Even he will confess to being a bit obsessive about it, but feels each rewritten word or cut line was essential to the story's clarity and doesn't regret a single hour spent working on it.

Now, after nearly fourteen years of development, John is finally ready to unveil the final draft of The Chekhov Dreams, as the play approaches its world premiere at the Beckett Theatre in late January.  

 

We hope you are able to share in this special moment. 

The Story Behind the Story