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February 25, 2014 | What Did You Think?,

What Did You Think of Man in a Case?


Thank you for joining us for Baryshnikov Productions and Big Dance Theater’s production of Man in a 

Please take a moment to share your thoughts with us in the comments section of this blog post.


What images are standing out from the performance?

Were you familiar with the Chekhov short stories before you saw the show?

Did you feel compelled to read the short stories after the show?

How did the style of telling the story impact the experience?

Thanks again! We hope to see you soon at ArtsEmerson.

17 responses to “What Did You Think of Man in a Case?”

  1. Susan says:

    I thought the play was moving and enjoyable. I was concerned when I read about the use of multimedia and surveillance tapes that it would be ‘over-produced’, and the use of media and dance would be gratuiltous. But I found it very well done, ‘special effects’ enhanced the play but not at the cost of the simple but universal story. The play stayed true to Checkhov’s message. Great acting, too!

  2. nonie valentine says:

    Was really disappointed. The performances were uneven and the American cast with their slanginess didn’t go well with MB, who was the central figure of course. The first story rang true with my experience of Russian sensibility but didn’t impact me as art. There was of too little of MB’s relaxed and interesting movement and the standing ovation seemed to be about his legacy not the overall production. For me it didn’t hang together and was scandalously expensive for what was on offer… I lost the appetite to check out the stories but my companion will…

  3. Ron Mallis says:

    I couldn’t figure out a “point of entry” for myself into the production as a whole: bits and pieces moved me — including the turkey noises; the physical production and all its elements; especially, Barishnikov’s dancing; AND, of course, the bike, which seemed to wander in from some Dada production of…I-don’-know-what. But they were, for me, disconnected from each other. I wish it had been otherwise for me…and the good news is that the audience in general seemed to “get it.” Well, that’s show biz.

  4. Jo Craig says:

    I enjoyed the staging, the actors were funny and engaging, and the set design and use of video were very effective. I thought the play was a nice mix of the pathos and humor of Chekov. Mr. Baryshnikov was mesmerizing, and his spare movements added grace and texture to the piece. l also liked the use of mullti media and song. Thank you, ArtsEmerson for bringing yet another sublime theatre experience to Boston!

  5. Julie Ledoux says:

    What images are standing out from the performance? Baryshnikov falling down the stairs under the strobe light – and Baryshnikov and the female actor lying on the floor doing various poses on the train tracks.

    Were you familiar with the Chekhov short stories before you saw the show? No

    Did you feel compelled to read the short stories after the show? No.

    How did the style of telling the story impact the experience? It was definitely different. Baryshnikov is Brilliant. Bravo to him and his production company and Bravo to ArtsEmerson for bringing such interesting performances to Boston! THANK YOU!

  6. Victoria says:

    Anytime I get to see Misha I am reminded of him as a young dancer defecting to the US and, even as a child, feeling quite sure in that moment that art and liberty had won the Cold War. So I am very biased. I just adore him. I really enjoyed this as a work of art. I found it to be creative and enticing and moving. I can see why commenters were put off by the American slang or a sense of distance, but I found that to be reflective of Chekov who is as timeless as Shakespeare and it not only did not bother me, it brought the play into the present day while it remained in the past. I appreciated this piece for its daring choices and innovative composition. Partly art should make us think and challenge us – which this performance did for me.

  7. Katherine says:

    I found the story to be very moving and the acting was wonderful – but I don’t know if I’m yet convinced of the merit of avant-garde theatre. I spent most of the play trying to figure out if the physicality and multi-media were heightening or distracting from the emotion of the play. There were a few instances in which I felt the production aided the story: this was the during the second play, in which the characters – after bidding their final goodbye – participated in a strange lying-down dance. The dance, combined with the music and background projected onto the many screens was heartbreaking: a wonderful instance of when movement can convey an emotion in a way that language cannot. That being said, I was puzzled by the many aspects of meta-theatre (the blatant microphones, the on-stage sound department and character changes) and what they added to our understanding of the story. Universality? Pointlessness or repetition of misery (as was expressed between characters in an exchange following the death of Belekov) and its staging?

    I couldn’t be disappointed in the production as I didn’t come in expecting anything. But I did leave with a lot of questions regarding the nature and purpose of what I’d just seen. I was moved by the issues of love and its (hopeless) mystery, but I didn’t feel the need to rush out and read Checkov’s stories for answers.

  8. Tom Jackson says:

    I found it to be boring and very uneven. The actual stories were drowned by the frantic effects and misguided decision to “do something different” Example: all the unrelated scurrying around to pull down screens, curtains, a novelty bed, assembling the bike, reassembling tables, dual modes of seeing (video and live overlapping out of sync), a strobe light when it was not useful etc. Clearly (to me) there was no reason to believe that this added to the dramatic pull of storyline, character identification or anything. Bary was little more than a marketing ploy and without him the theater would have been half empty. Still a fan of Art Emerson, but a bit more suspicious of the big tilt to Avantism.

  9. Frank says:

    It’s a pretty theater, but as other reviewers have pointed out, the seating is far too small. I’m 5’11” and my knees were two inches over the back of the seat in front of me. After an hour of the metal rim of that seat gouging my knees — and my elbows being unnaturally held in — I was in pain. An usher later suggested getting box seats or end-aisle seats in the future, but the theater should make the suggestion on their seating diagram. “It’s an old theater” (1903), yes, but that doesn’t mean we’re helpless to make accommodations for larger human beings 100+ years later.

  10. Chris says:

    Ditto to what Tom Jackson says – and all the other “disappointed” comments. The 2/28 audience was so desperate they started to applaud MB’s 1 minute soft shoe. Seriously…..

    I, too, was mystified by the ovation.

  11. Chester Parasco, Jr. says:

    I enjoyed the play but suspected while watching it that it was distractingly “arty” and self-conscious. It was only once it ended and it was possible to reflect on the whole, and this occurred immediately, as I sat in my seat waiting for the press of people to clear a bit, that I began to see the forest rather than the trees. Once that happened I was moved by the quality of the prolonged meditation on love and error and loss. It seemed lovely, dark and deep.

  12. Sandra Graham says:

    This was a loss. Yes, there were ingenious touches with the multimedia, lighting, and staging, but when one has to look so hard for aspects to praise, a production has failed. I was completely unengaged emotionally and intellectually. The second story had potential but was undeveloped. I didn’t even experience the thrill I usually do when seeing Misha onstage. The incongruity of time periods, costume, languages, accents — what was the point? I wanted so much to like this, as I want so much to like all theater that I experience. But this performance defeated me.

  13. Lesley says:

    I enjoyed the production, and common theme of “Love” . Certainly did love the production, and the multi-media style, it was a clever use of music, dance, screens, camera etc., which gave the production an overall texture. Bravo!

  14. Anon says:

    We loved the production … out of the box creative.

  15. Maia Daly says:

    I LOVED every minute of it. I was glued to the performance, the special effects, and of course, Mr. Baryshnikov. I thought everything about this production was electrifying and exciting. I plan on reading the Chekov stories now to know more about Belikov and the other characters.
    My seat was perfect…best seat in the house.

  16. Joelle Wartosky says:

    Superb from beginning to end. Very true to Chekov. Enjoyed it very much. Good acting, good voices and dancing and nice choreography. Thank you for a lovely evening.

  17. Jeanne says:

    A bit confusing for me at the beginning but as it went on the actors made it perfectly clear. I had not read the story before the performance but it awakened my interest and I will read those and others by Chekhov.
    I was entranced by the simplicity and beauty of Barysnikov’s movements. That in itself was worth the price of admission.
    The audience seemed split in its reaction to the play. There was a long, grateful applause but no standing ovation as if to say, “thank you for your effort and talent but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for”. It was a worthwhile and entertaining afternoon.
    The theater is beautiful (but seating is cramped).

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