You don't normally think of the Russian plays being too funny; there're a lot of wolves and war and melancholy remembrances of Wolf War I that get in the way of the laughs, right? But Anton Chekhov actually had quite a sense of humor, especially in his one-act plays. Oh, there's still a little twinge of disappointment to overcome, but the circumstances his characters find themselves in are definitely funny. Soundstage Productions celebrates the lighter side of Anton in show business with a trio of his one-acts entitled Chuckle with Chekhov. You'll get to enjoy Robert Ashton as a befuddled smoker browbeaten by his wife into delivering a lecture, "On the Evils of Tobacco," which rarely touches on the topic of smoking; In "The Celebration," a dour assistant bank manager fruitlessly attempts to finish a speech commemorating the bank's fifteenth anniversary — a speech his boss will deliver — while coworker Shipuchin blathers on about nothing; and in "The Power of Hypnotism," a widow with piercing eyes finds she can make two men do anything merely by flashing meaningful glances. Soundstage presents Chuckle with Chekhov at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday (May 15 through 24) at Crestwood ArtSpace (Watson and Sappington roads, Crestwood; www.soundstageproductions.net). Tickets are $8.
Fridays-Sundays. Starts: May 15. Continues through May 24, 2009