By Alexis Clements
When I learned to paint, the little bit that I managed to learn, I was taught to start by copying the great painters. It wasn’t imitation nor was it homage, it was copying — literal attempts to mirror the specific effects of the light trapped inside a brushstroke, the choice of colors and texture. With writing, however, copying in this way would be considered simple plagiarism. So, writers are left instead with the option to imitate, which is not such a bad way to practice, really — assuming you don’t try to make a career of it.
The Brooklyn Playwrights Collective has taken this painterly approach to their annual one-act festival, examining the techniques and themes of their demigods, and then letting that study inform new works in the style of these masters. They’ve approached Artaud and Brecht in years previous, but this year, rather appropriately given the times, they’ve chosen Chekhov.