While researching Antosha & Levitasha, I read the letters of Anton Chekhov and Lika Mizinova. I was primarily interested in their relationship with Levitan and in how the three of them played off each other to heighten a romantic rivalry that was sometimes in jest, sometimes in earnest.
But I also found myself fascinated with the dramatic arc of their ten-year correspondence. In his letters to Lika, Chekhov used humor and wit as a defense against intimacy. He dallied with, deflected and ultimately rejected her love for him without openly expressing the ambiguity of his feelings toward her. For Lika, what started as lighthearted exchanges ended up as sad expressions of thwarted love.
I decided to translate and adapt their letters as a two-act play. I worked with dramaturge Gavin Reub to fashion the exchange of letters into a dramatic interplay that would work on stage. On June 6th, Sweet Lika, performed by members of The Seagull Project Ensemble, premiered at ACT Theatre in downtown Seattle.