Ethan Hawke, the Hollywood star best known for his movie roles in Training Day and Before Sunrise, is winning plaudits for his current role in the Classic Stage Company's Ivanov. Hawke made his debut in the Chekhov play on Sunday evening (November 11, 2012), and received a flurry of positive reviews from critics.
The play tells the story of Nikolai Ivanov, a man struggling to regain his former glory in the Russian provinces. Writing in the New York Times, Ben Brantley said, "From the get-go Mr. Hawke appears in such an advanced, manic state of misery that your instinct is to call for a straitjacket. Best known as a movie actor, Mr. Hawke in the flesh exudes a solar energy that has made him a formidable stage presence." The Associated Press' Jennifer Ferrar said Hawke "does a heroic job of being both appealing and insufferable as Ivanov," adding that he is "extremely energetic" with Ivanov's despair. Thom Geier of Entertainment Weekly was a little more reserved in his review of the production, arguing that Hawke takes an "actorly approach to the role," adding, "It's an almost manic take on melancholia, a contradiction that makes his character's trajectory feel more like the stuff of melodrama than tragedy."
As well as working on-stage, Hawke is also filming Boyhood, Richard Linklater's new drama set for a 2015 release.