Comment: The Fiancée.

by Lynn on March 5, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live reading at The Red Sandcastle Theatre produced by the Chekhov Collective. Closed.

Written by Anton Chekhov

Directed by Rena Polley

Cast: Rena Polley

Brenda Robin

David Storch

Helen Taylor

The Chekhov Collective is a small but feisty group of actors who are devoted to the teachings of Michael Chekhov. Michael Chekhov was the nephew of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, and a student of Stanislavski.

The Chekhov Collective gives readings of Anton Chekhov’s short stories among others and their latest effort was a very short run (now closed) of “The Fiancée.”

Nadya Shumina is 23 years old and lives in the country on her grandmother’s estate with her mother. She is engaged to Andrey Andreyevich, a well-meaning, but shallow young man. He lacks ambition and occupies his time by playing the violin.  Nadya begins to dread the approaching wedding day and decides to follow her cousin Sasha’s advice and turn her life upside down. She runs away to create her own life and not one created by a husband.

The readings by The Chekhov Collective are always interesting, lively and ‘read’ by a group of gifted actors. This reading was no different. Rena Polley directed with a sure hand and the result was loaded with detail. David Storch read all the men’s parts and infused all manner of reactions and context in his reading. Brenda Robins read the part of the narrator and Helen Taylor read the part of Nadya.

If I have a quibble/concern it’s that there was too much shifting of chairs, music stands and folding and unfolding of a screen in an effort to suggest new locations and scenes. Too time consuming and really unnecessary.

As usual, the story illuminated Chekhov’s world of indolent characters with little to do and no ambition to do more, generally. It’s rich in the flavour of the time, and the sifting attitudes of the people. Not keen on the fussy moving of the chairs etc. Loved being there to hear this short story

Presented by The Chekhov Collective.

Now closed after a short run at the Red Sandcastle Theatre.

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