February 19, 1993 |
Founder David Bassuk of Novel Stages has once again taken up the directorial cudgels, this time for his company's production of "The Cherry Orchard," which opened the other night at Stage III of Temple University Center City. Bassuk's primary mission seems to have been to lighten up the Anton Chekhov classic in accordance with Chekhov's own wishes that his play not be treated as a social tragedy about the downfall of an impoverished gentry, but as a comedy. It is obvious from the performance that the director has worked diligently at his task.
December 15, 2003 |
Before he wrote his major plays, Anton Chekhov wrote short, humorous sketches referred to as his vaudevilles. Triangle Theater has taken a special interest in those brief pieces, presenting several at the Fringe Festival in the fall. Now Triangle offers Chekhov-Mania, a series of two programs that repeats a couple of the earlier productions and adds a few new ones. Scheduling overlaps allowed us to review only one of the programs. Yet, judging from the content and presentations of the three short plays (The Jubilee, The Proposal, and The Tragedian in Spite of Himself)
May 13, 2008 |
In Emily Mann's take on The Seagull, arguably the greatest of Anton Chekhov's major plays, Mother Russia is not even on the radar. A Seagull in the Hamptons is all modern and all-American, set on the ritzy beach where high-end New Yorkers play. There the play's literary elite fret about health care and pooh-pooh Meryl Streep, to curry favor with the vaunted actress who owns the beach estate where her son and brother gather with their friends and lovers. A Seagull in the Hamptons at Princeton's McCarter Theatre, where Mann is artistic director and resident playwright, completes her cycle of adaptations of Chekhov's major works.
July 26, 1991 |
The new show at Hedgerow Theatre finds Jasper Deeter's legacy playing Neil Simon. Now this Neil Simon is a particularly pertinent vehicle for the spirited ensemble in Moylan, Delaware County, "The Good Doctor," which bowed in 1973 and got out of town fast, is Simon's rewrite of 10 short pieces by Anton Chekhov, certainly no stranger to the boards during Hedgerow's distinguished 68 years of dramaturgy. Let me say at the outset that the Hedgerow production directed by the company's estimable new artistic bellwether, Penelope Reed, is a bellyful of rousing entertainment, and I even include a couple of pure vaudeville sketches that at this point in the six-week run impress me as acutely slappy.
August 17, 1991 |
Because The Good Doctor is an adapation to the stage of short stories by Anton Chekhov, the title can be assumed to refer both to Chekhov's ability as a writer and his alternate profession of physician. But there may be something more to the title than this obvious connection. Neil Simon, who wrote the play, has had the nickname "Doc" since he was a child. He is also known as a play "doctor," adept at improving scripts by other writers. Could The Good Doctor, the current production at Hedgerow Theater, be a sly reference by Simon to himself and his treatment of Chekhov?
March 24, 2014 |
BLOCKBUSTER musicals, a world premiere or two, the arrival of the Tony Awards' 2013 best play - yeah, we've got those. The Kimmel Center's Broadway series, source of crowd-pleasing "bus-and-truck" musicals, brings in "The Phantom of the Opera" and "The Wizard of Oz. " Local productions of note range from the Wilma's "Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq," a new play by Pulitzer Prizer Paula Vogel, to InterAct Theatre Company's "Down Past Passyunk," based...
November 20, 2015 |
SAOIRSE RONAN was looking for a specific kind of role. She wanted something that would continue her transition from child actress to adult - "it's a transition everyone has to make when you start out young," she said - and she wanted to play an Irish person. After years, speaking in all types of accents, Ronan wanted to hear her own voice. And that's what led this lass born in the Bronx but raised in Ireland, to "Brooklyn. " Speaking in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, Ronan said the role of Eilis (pronounced Ailish )
January 25, 1995 |
The Cherry Orchard was Anton Chekhov's last play, a dying man's valedictory to a world that could break your heart if it weren't so funny - or was it the other way around? It also was his most comic play, an affectionate creation in which his familiar aristocrats, intellectuals and bourgeois become characters in a kind of cosmic music hall. An eccentric governess performs card tricks. A highborn old gent plays an imaginary game of billiards and speaks an apostrophe to a piece of furniture.
December 19, 1986 |
Ian McKellen in "Wild Honey," a comedy by Michael Frayn from a play by Anton Chekhov. Entire production conceived and directed by Christopher Morahan, sets by John Gunter, costumes by Deirdre Clancy, lighting by Martin Aronstein, incidental music by Dominic Muldowney. Presented at the Virginia Theatre, 245 W. 52nd St., New York City. Anton Chekhov as farceur? You gotta believe it if you are going to buy this play, and I will be so bold as to say right off that it may be the best buy on Broadway this season.
May 7, 2000 |
"I drink in order to fool myself," morosely declares the title character in Uncle Vanya, on view at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in a revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company. "I fool myself into believing I'm still alive. " Yet though Vanya may technically be counted among the living, faithfully running the country estate that supports his hated former brother-in-law, he is dead in spirit. Paralyzed by inertia, tortured by jealousy and self-pity, Anton Chekhov's antihero plods dully from day to day. His soul is as empty and arid as the "narrow, provincial Russian country life" (in the words of his disenchanted doctor friend, Astrov)