It is Like the Monkey on the Spaceship As I walked around the streets of New York City this past weekend, I spend a good deal of time reminiscing about my days in the ensemble track at NYU, when we performed Chekov's The Three Sisters. Our director, who was Bulgarian and studied at the Moscow Art Theater -- the birthplace of modern drama, where Stanislavsky taught his techniques through the plays of Chekhov -- was a bit of a madman. A wild, ingenious Bulgarian madman. As great of a teacher and brilliant a mind as he was, he had a tendency to get a bit, er, vague in his direction.
At one point in the rehearsal process he described one character's journey through a scene as this: "It is like the monkey on the spaceship."
We all looked at him like he was crazy . From what I remember, he was explaining the journey of Andrei. Andrei had married "below his class", and his wife had born him a son which obviously was not his. Being the only male heir to his father's estate, the burden of keeping the family together fell on him. He had to deny the fact that the child wasn't his while keeping together his three high-maintenance sisters through their in-fighting and personal struggles while proving to his doubting family that his marriage wasn't a mistake -- that he loved his wife, that she loved him, and he made his choices as best he could. Everything came crashing down on him at once. He was like the monkey on the spaceship -- taken for a ride into a place where he had no idea where he was going without anyone of his own kind to guide him or even give him a straightforward answer as to what was going on.
Make any sense to you? Yeah. Us either. Hence, it is like the monkey on the spaceship.