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.