Director and writer Yuri Shapochka shows us the world of Checkov through his own cinematic style. In his latest independent short, The Backstage Story, the director retells one of Checkov’s short stories, "The entrepreneur under the bed", in an adaptation for modern times. It takes place in the dark and intimate depths of a theater playhouse. With time, its inhabitants come to share the same complex and intriguing characteristics of the enigmatic theater. As with most every utilized playhouse, the people working inside seem a world apart from everyday people: a society unto itself. Still the outside world is there to apply pressure where needed, and give support when the doors open and the lights dim. In The Entrepreneur, we see how these outsiders tend to be the catalysts for the drama behind the stage. With Shapochka’s short, we are given a window into the untold and indiscreet inner workings of the theater.
It starts with a young actress changing in the “privacy” of her dressing room, only to find the theater’s aging owner hiding behind her divan! As one would expect, this is unacceptable to the unclad lady. She demands he leave immediately. Still, he cowers before her, terrified of being thrown out. He begs her for mercy, claiming to be hiding from a lover’s very violent and very angry husband. “I seek here only salvation, as I might perish! My Gloria’s husband arrived from New York. He’s in the theatre seeking my death. And besides Gloria, I owe him money!” The young performer’s resolve remains firm. At her mercy, the theater owner desperately bargains with her. She cunningly insists it’s not her concern and tells him to go… unless he gives her a raise, and a better part. The results of these characters’ dynamic are simultaneously comical and alarming. Shapochka’s short raises a humorous magnifying glass to the intricate ways of life away from the proscenium. The short is aptly named, The Little Theater.