Tag Archives: Anton Chekhov

NT getting closer

Now I may no longer have to consider whether I can face the journey to London to go to the National Theatre. They are setting up some magic so that people can go to Cornerhouse in Manchester and see some of the National’s plays live.

They are starting big, with Hamlet on the 9th of December, with Rory Kinnear as the prince. Then it will be Fela! on 13th January and King Lear on 3rd February. Frankenstein in March and The Cherry Orchard in June complete the season.

I have never seen anything like this, so have no clear idea of whether it works well or not. But with the modern magic available, it makes sense to bring culture to the ‘sticks’. And they may as well practise on Manchester before they do…

Three Sisters

Don’t say I’m not an obedient old witch when it suits me. In the summer I just happened to read Happy Endings by Adèle Geras, which is about a group of teenagers acting in Chekhov’s Three Sisters. The only drawback for me was not knowing the Chekhov play, as Adèle had woven a story around the teenagers as well as the parts they play in Three Sisters. Doing her “bossy older sister” routine, Adèle pointed out that the very same translation by Michael Frayn that she had seen, would be on at the Royal Exchange in Manchester this September, and she expected me to go and see it and report back here.

This afternoon the reduced witch family went along, and what a good play it turned out to be. Whether to blame that on Chekhov or Frayn, I don’t know. Could possibly even have something to do with the production, directed by Sarah Frankcom. Sometimes I think the Russians can beat the Swedes at being depressed, but this was bearable from that point of view. Adèle’s plot now makes much more sense, after I’ve been introduced to Irina and Olga and Vershinin and all the rest.

We ended up sitting with our feet virtually on the family’s dining table, so were quite close enough. And you know those annoying people who always arrive a little late, and are a little too noisy? In this case they were the actors, so I’ll forgive them. Theatre in the round is much more fun than your traditional stage.

And Daughter liked it, so that has to count as a success. Sometimes I despair that the young have no interest in older classics, but my experience with drama says that classics in the theatre works. Had also wondered if Chekhov was just that little bit too, well, Russian, but no problems there.

We really should get out more. Thanks, “Sis”!