The self-satisfied teacher Semjon is in love with his fiancée Masha; Masha is in love with the rebellious dreamer Kostja; he is in love with the budding actress Nina; she is in love with the successful author Trigorin, but he ultimately loves only himself. In Chekhov’s play, “The Seagull”, all the figures are searching for a way to escape the desolation of their provincial lives. Love or art should come to the rescue! Yet vanity, fear and neurosis drive the figures ever deeper into an abyss of self-pity and despair. Of Chekhov, Woody Allen wrote, “One minute, people are crying; the next, they’re laughing. His texts are comedies of despair.” The same could be said of Woody Allen’s films, in which married couples and singles drift aimlessly through life in New York. Like Chekhov’s figures from the Russian provinces, they also long for a quite different, more fulfilled, more authentic life. Chekhov once wrote, “It is not about describing, but about admitting our situation.” Has our situation changed fundamentally? Or can the vodka glasses still be heard clinking and the samovar softly whistling “To Moscow” in a Manhattan loft today?