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The Gachon Herald
What Axe is Your Partner Having to Grind?A play that looks at another human being through an affair, Chekhov, who Reads Women
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Updated : 2019.07.12  18:26:18
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 “No one is guilty of love”

 It is a line in the play. You can't judge the nature of good or evil in human’s love, but "affair" is an uncomfortable act, both personally and socially. But humans yearn for the 'only one forbidden' more than many things they can have. The play <Chekhov, Read a Woman> pays attention to the characters' 'banned love,' which shows that they also started love with a pure heart under the name of love. <Chekhov, Read a Woman> is a play of five unpublished short stories by Russian novelist Anton Chekhov in omnibus format. Five different episodes were naturally woven into the common themes of "wife" and "affairs," with each story showing the complex psychology of women pursuing "banned love." The five episodes are "The Wife of the Pharmacist," "Agapia," "My Wives," "Ninochika" and "Unfortunate," each of which is diversely expressed in comedy, drama, grotesque comedy, romantic comedy, and melodramatic drama. This makes "an affair," material that can be uncomfortable and not too light into a witty situation.

 Episode 1. The Wife of the Pharmacist
 The wife, who can hardly fall asleep with the snoring sound of her husband, a man who loves money more than his wife, feels bored by the same routine every night. Then, she is consumed with extreme excitement by the murmurs of strange men. The wife, who hurriedly opens the pharmacy door and greets two soldiers as guests, is attracted to Optesov and exchanges odd glances with him. The wife might think she is an unattractive woman owing to her husband's attitude of valuing money more than her. For such a wife, the friendly eyes and touch of Optesov are enough to shake her heart.

 Episode 2. Agapia
 Agapia, who has been married less than a year, has no problem with her husband, but for some reason, she goes out to fish every day secretly. It's to meet Safka, the man she loves. She always spends the night with Safka, refusing to go home for some reason, though she has to go home if she hears the train. Agapia who usually respects her husband and is obedient to him deviates from her work, feeling attracted to Safka. This shows the human nature of being torn between reason and instinct.

 Episode 3. My Wives
 It is about a sophistic explanation of Raul Sinya Broda who killed seven wives. He explains one by one why he was forced to kill his wives, to an opera official who describes himself as a brutal killer. The seven wives Raul murdered are typical of women of the time. For example, an obedient woman, a pretty but stupid woman who can only spend money, and a woman who is smart enough to make a man suffer. This satirizes the society which put women’s desires into stereotypes. Whereas the other episodes convey a woman's desire and love as a subject, it portrays a woman as an object seen from a man's perspective.

 Episode 4. Ninochika
 Vihlenev is fat and always a timid husband to his wife, Ninochika. Whenever he fights with Ninochika, he visits his friend and social celebrity Luvanshev for advice. But in fact, Lubanchev is Ninochika's lover. But what's more shocking is Vihlenev's reaction to this affair. There is a bizarre scene in which Luvanshev proposes a ridiculous deal to Vihlenev, which he accepts. The center of every story begins and ends with Ninochika, but in fact, Ninochika is just a tool used for men's transactions.

 Episode 5. Unfortunate
 Lawyer Ilyne loves her best friend Andrea's wife, Sofia. Sophia refuses to accept the offer, saying that it is absurd to have a passionate courtship of Illinois, but she is not able to resist him completely and appears to be in conflict. In the end, she tells her husband she's in love with another man and leaves far away by train, giving up everything. Sophia's decision to leave without choosing either love or affair leaves everyone unhappy, but it could be just another start of happiness for her. The episode shows a conflict over human desires and a self-imposed acceptance of one's own choices.

 The theme of the play is a representation of the internal lives of humans, which is totally unpredictable when compared to common sense. While the story is all about "affairs" and "love," what the play keeps shouting at people is not that we commit an affair. After all, all men have desires and do not hide their desires within themselves. Each man has a variety of desires in his mind. Just as it may be a desire for love or a desire for dreams, the form of desire will be different. There is no end to the complex inner workings of man. The play <Chekhov, Read a Women>, which deals with the theme of human desire as an unconventional subject of infidelity, gives an important implication to the theme ’desire’. The play is performed annually, so I recommend you watch it in person and judge it for yourself.

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