In a play that tackles such difficult issues as class struggle, race relations, and the disillusionment of a generation, Ivanov is as timely now as it was in late 19th century Russia.
The wonderful set incorporates the audience as silent observers of the struggles of Nikolai Ivanov, the typical Chekov protagonist. Ivanov (played by Owen Teale) is a tired man--someone who has taken on too much, been in too much of a hurry, and is now suffering for his lack of moderation. Teale's portrayal convinces the audience of the reality of being "trapped in constant inertia."
Helped by amazing lighting designers, musical directors, and actors, director Katie Mitchell has developed a play that evokes all the senses--the sight, smell, and feel of the play keep the audience emotionally trapped in the lives of the characters.
• National Theatre until Saturday 12 October