The fact that Yana Ross, most recently in-house director at the Zurich Schauspielhaus, will be more often in the future Berlin Ensemble will be staged must be understood as a threat. For her BE debut, she chose Chekhov’s early work “Iwanow”, the story of a semi-unsuccessful, average man who tends to be a little lazy in the best years of the crisis of meaning, i.e. around his mid-40s. Their moderately original directorial idea, which unfortunately seems completely arbitrary, transports the Chekhov crew from a 19th-century country estate to a shabby tennis club in the Westphalian province of the present: Gütersloh as a spiritual way of life. This becomes the maximum punishment for the stage characters as well as for the unfortunate theater audience. The surface direction does not begrudge Mr. Iwanow (Peter Moltzen), who is called Nicolas here, and his wife (Constanze Becker), who is suffering from cancer, no larger inner life. One can at most guess that she must have loved him very much at one time, that he lost his feelings. Routine sighs, brave, silent suffering and rather random gestures of embarrassment have to suffice to draw clichéd figures.