What better way to represent the depressing inertia of Chekhov’s antihero Ivanov than by an enormous couch with comfortable cushions? For the better part of the performance Ivanov sits, no, slouches there, an indolent layabout who has given up caring a rap about his surroundings, his wife, her mortal illness or his own botched life.

That is how director Amir Reza Koohestani (1978) sees Ivanov, and he draws a parallel with the disappointed people of Iran, who took to the streets in 2009, even before the Arab Spring reared its head, to protest against the electoral fraud and for more democracy, more social justice and more rights for women. Hopes ran high during the Green Revolution, but in the end the insurgents were left empty-handed. Just like the destitute landowner Ivanov in Chekhov’s first play, from 1887, the Iranians, according to Koohestani, let themselves be beaten down by a lack of future prospects.

And thus the Ivanov from the company from Teheran hardly leaves his place on the couch – which is easily converted into a sofa bed – from where he talks to the people around him in curt, direct words. Only Sasha, his neighbour’s daughter who falls madly in love with him, won’t resign herself to the status quo and continues to harbour a spark of resistance and hope. She stands for all of the women who marched in the front line during the Green Revolution and embodies the Iranian longing for freedom.

Touring list:

11 nov 2014 Amsterdam – Stadsschouwburg
13 nov 2014 Tilburg – Theaters Tilburg
18 nov 2014 Utrecht – Stadsschouwburg
20 nov 2014 Heerlen – Parkstad Limburg Theaters
22 nov 2014 Den Haag – Koninklijke Schouwburg