The Lydia Etudes



Created and performed by Dawn Arnold

“Dawn Arnold  is mesmerizing to watch as Lydia Avilova.” Behind the Curtain, Cincinnati

“A dynamic, compelling glimpse of a fascinating woman writer by an equally mesmerizing theatre artist.  A tour-de-force of tremendous storytelling.  Her unrivaled ability to shapeshift into multiple characters is a wonder and a delight to witness.”

The Lydia Etudes is Dawn Arnold’s original adaptation for the stage of “Chekhov in My Life” by Russian writer, Lydia Avilova, translated by David Magarshak.

Actress Dawn Arnold explores the secrets of the heart in her original adaptation of Lydia Avilova’s memoir, “Chekhov in My Life” and Chekhov’s letters to Lydia. In her solo play about love, Dawn Arnold takes both sides as she portrays Lydia and Anton – and a host of other characters – transporting us into the world of Chekhov and inviting us into both the private and public places of Chekhov’s life. Accompanied by the strains of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, Dawn Arnold reveals interior arias of human yearning told in the style of artistic realism of one of Chekhov’s own plays.

See video montage on YouTube – The Lydia Etudes Show Video

“Many years ago I came upon this little book of reminiscences, a memoir of Lydia Avilova, her love for Anton Chekhov, and how that love transformed her life. It was also a story about Lydia’s struggles as a woman writer with artistic yearnings revealed through a woman’s way of seeing and feeling, giving us a portrait of what it was like to live in the world of Anton Chekhov.

Dawn Arnold

When people ask me what The Lydia Etudes is about, I say, ‘It’s a love story.’ It is about love of all the things that are important in life – expression of talent, fulfillment, happiness, and connection. If you are familiar with Anton Chekhov, the great playwright, then this is a story that reveals another side to him. If you like his plays, you will see the influence of those plays in this story – and in my particular adaptation for the stage. You might see it as a one-person Chekhov play!” Dawn Arnold

“People think that Chekhov never experienced a great love. I had thought so myself, but now I can say emphatically: he did experience such a love – for Lydia Avilova.” Ivan Bunin in About Chekhov

This show is available for booking. Contact us for booking information.

Find out more. Click here for Lydia Etudes Production Requirements

Show photos by Scott Burrell