by Anton Tschechow / Repertoire
"What's wrong with me?", Ivanov asks his neighbour Pavel Lebedev. Ivanov no longer understands himself. In the past, he had ideals, built schools, wanted to implement reforms. But now he doesn’t care about these things anymore, he doesn’t care about life, even the high debts that burden his estate don’t shake him awake. Once he loved his wife, who because of their love was disowned and disinherited by her Jewish family. Now he no longer loves her, can’t love her, even though he knows she will soon die of consumption. Annoyed by the oppressive conditions at home, he spends his evenings at the Lebedev estate. Their daughter Sascha wants to save him from his depression, but Ivanov is annoyed by this, too. Overwhelmed, he returns home, where his jealous wife bitterly confronts him, and in anger he scolds her as a "dirty Jewess". Feelings of shame and guilt follow. It is a toxic period in which Ivanov's mental illness reflects the emptiness, coldness, aggression, and mindlessness of the world around him. Chekhov's Ivanov, first performed in 1887, diagnoses, like his later plays, the crisis of a social class that has lost its leading role through social upheaval, in which all conversations compulsively deal with the notion of money: the money of debt, corrupt business, card games, dowries. A class that drowns its crisis in alcohol and kills its time with meaningless activities. Ivanov wants to get out of it all. A tragedy. His milieu feels that change is necessary but isn’t willing to give up the old world. A comedy. At the end, as in the beginning of the drama, a gun is shot.