Chekhov and Maria by Jovanka Bach


Chekhov and Maria by Jovanka Bach


Playwright Jovanka Bach paints a bittersweet portrait of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (Ron Bottitta) and his sister, Maria (Gillian Brashear), near the end of the dramatist’s life and at the height of his popularity. This throws into question Maria’s worth to her famous brother - at least in her own mind - especially since, at the age of 42, he has surreptitiously married Olga Knipper, a notorious coquette of the Moscow Art Theatre, Maria feels that this marriage has left her abandoned in her older age. In Bach’s vision, the siblings seem like characters straight out of Uncle Vanya, tortured by the machinations of their own lost desires, and in the midst of a passive struggle to halt the inexorable advancement of obsolescence. Brashear’s portrayal of the aggressively selfsacrificing sibling hits poignant beats and she plays well against Bottitta, who balances the Russian scribes worsening fits of consumption with a rambunctious jocularity. Director John Stark’s straightforward staging of his wife’s play serves the nature of the piece well, and the play is deceptively remarkable. A guest production at the ODYSSEY THEATRE, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. WLA.


Ron Bottita
Ron Bottitta
Gillian Brashear
Gillian Brashear

Chekhov and Maria by Jovanka Bach , was given a special memorial tribute production at the Odyssey Theatre recently by her husband John Stark The author, who passed away recently after a lengthy battle with cancer had a special interest in Chekhov, who was a medical doctor like herself. In July 2006, the play opened in New York at the Barrow Group Theatre.

The N.Y. Times says, "Ron Bottitta and Gillian Brashear give outstanding, complex performances," and credits Jovanka Bach's script with "...uncommon emotional intelligence." Click here for the review. says, "...respectfully done on all fronts. The acting is good, the story is told well, and the production is handsome." Click here for the review. says, "...It was inspiring, thought-provoking, and professionally performed. Hopefully, more of Ms. Bach’s plays will be seen in the future, as well as those of Chekhov. Riveting theatre like this is rare." Click here for the review.

Chekhov and Maria is now an award-winning motion picture, directed by Eric Till.

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John Stark Productions
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