Por que não vivemos?
Since 2009, we have the Project to assemble a play from this young and unfinished text.
Chekhov has always been to me, from very early on, a source of learning, of language expansion, of sensibility refinement and of connection with the movements of time.
Several circumstances have made today, ten years later, the moment in which we are here getting the play on its feet. In addition, it seems to us quite appropriate and in touch with the days, we live in. In practically all of his work, this young author – who was always young, since he died at the age of 44 – approached a world heading to disappearance and a future still uncertain. He wrote people. He wrote coexistence. States of spirit, permanence, attempts of scape, silences. He wrote failures. Minimal and hidden beauties. He wrote the small of each one, the small man, the one that is not at the center, the deviation, the dreamed landscapes. He looked at the now with extreme sharpness and generosity. And he still does. His critical look renovates itself at each moment of the history, signifies itself under the lights of the events and on the heat of the moment.
Chekhov is always a sort of place where to return, where we can nourish our soul, revive our spirit, tone our muscles, relearn to listen. From time to time, to go back to him has been a reason to keep going. The big poetry of the world. This one, that reminds us that we are still here.
The vibrations of a group of artists and voices that make this experience a powerful moment of encounters and coexistences pierce our play. To work hours at a stretch, doubting, making questions, feeding the courage and taste for what we still don’t know, this has been a reason of happiness in such harsh days like the ones from today. I thank enormously to each one.
Chekhov was a worker, as we are, Brazilian artists. He refused his entire life lie and violence, always preferring love and freedom. He fought, drawing upon words and his own body, for a better world.
Rio, June 26th 2019
Actually, there is no Chekhov’s work entitled “Platonov”. Chekhov had not yet given a title to the play when he wrote it, on the winter of 1878, with only 18 years old.
In 1920, a manuscript was found in the State files, inside a bank’s safe in Moscow. There were 11 manuscript notebooks, and on the first one, the cover and two pages were missing (from the first act). The text had some cuts and notes clearly made in three different periods and twice of its current duration. Therefore, this play, has always been a sketch, and was never finished by the author.
After some critiques of his brother Alexander and being refused by the actress M. N. Ermolova, Chekhov put this play aside, and forgot about it.
In a letter to his brother Alexander, dated of October 14th 1878, we find a reference to a text called “bezotsovchtchina”, a neologism almost untranslatable which approximately means: “Absence of a Father; Without a Father; Not being a Father”. This may being its original title, but it is not a certainty.
This Chekhov’s first play is an inaugural work, a pioneer work, a revealing work of a theater yet to come and of social changes that it already pointed out as necessary. As a pre-revolutionary state.
Many times untitled by the name of its main character “Platonov”, this play had its first assemblage on the West, in Paris, in 1956, staged by Jean Vilar. After this, several directors in innumerable countries receiving many different titles staged it. In Brazil, it had only one staging in 1980, made by Maria Clara Machado and her students.
companhia brasileira de teatro presents with the title “Por que não vivemos?” an adaptation of this fundamental text in Chekhov’s work. Made from the translation of the Russian original by Pedro Augusto Pinto, and reworked from the French versions of Andre Markowicz and Françoise Morvan, of Elsa Triolet and of Pol Quentin.
Rio, June 2019.