A wonderfully simple premise; an actor in Winnipeg struggling with Chekhov stands in the corner of a gallery talking about being an actor in Winnipeg struggling with Chekhov, and Winnipeg, and dreams. Beilfuss' script is adapted from two Chekhov short stories - you guessed it, About Love, and Champagne, interwoven with a bit of personal history and some fictional personal history to great effect. What ensues in a lovely and heartwarming story of frustration and dreams, and ultimately what draws us to (or keeps us in) this frozen wasteland.
Beilfuss is a skilled performer, and is clever in his "actor" persona at the start. His work truly shines, however, when Chekhov's text takes over. Beilfuss weaves the bleak winter imagery with such skill that the Russian town easily becomes Winnipeg in our mind's eye, and the story he tells of being in love with a married woman would trick one into thinking it is his own. I would argue he is more natural speaking the words of other than his own, to be fair.
The script does get a touch repetitive toward the end, and I'd have liked to see a touch more movement in the performance, but that notwithstanding, this is an excellent piece of work.
Cheers to being stuck in a frozen yet inspiring wasteland.