Written for Exeunt
In a world where the lives of artists are as interesting as the work they produce, 16 Possible Glimpses is a tantalising prospect. Marina Carr’s play takes a look at the life of Anton Chekhov, fracturing it down into 16 fictionalised sequences and leaving the Abbey Theatre’s Associate Director Wayne Jordan to sew them together.
Chekhov’s life certainly seems to provide rich pickings for such a bio-drama and is here presented not as a dour Russian playwright but as a playboy, carouser, caring brother and egocentric artist. We watch his life unfold through a mixture of slow motion sequences, live stage filming, and projections. There is a lot of snow and a silhouetted, hooded monk. The production never bores its audience but its stylishness feels hollow and slightly desperate. One starts to wonder if Jordan really trusts Carr’s material. A large amount of this stage business feels superfluous. It’s hard to work out why certain moments are filmed, for example, while others are not; the balletic removal and then immediate replacement of the chairs in a café scene also feels something of a mystery.