Final week of Chekhov Festival at The Fringe

The Pink Room
06/11/2014 09:09:00

The final week of the Chekhov Festival will continue to thrill audiences at the Fringe at Joburg Theatre with its varied and engaging programme.

A passion for playing classic Chekhov has brought some of Johannesburg's finest actors and directors together to give voice to the riveting words of genius storyteller and dramatist Anton Chekhov.

Audiences can see all 3 programmes this week with each programme consisting of 3 different works in a veritable feast of Chekhovian mastery that transcends time, geography and appeals to all generations.

Programme A, features Oppad (On the Road) translated directly from the original Russian into Afrikaans by Alice Smith and directed by Andre Stolz. Andre Lombard, newcomer Danielle Retief and Riana Wilkens appear in this chamber piece alongside Zanta Hofmeyr on violin and Maciej Lacny on cello playing themes from Rachmaninoff’s as the “Rock”.

The Sneeze (The Death of a Clerk), an extraordinary tale of mortality, features exponents of performance art and physical theatre Craig Morris, Gerard Bester, Toni Morkel and Maude Sandham.

Stars of the small screen make up the cast of Saintly Simplicity. Kevin Smith (Frank Xavier in Isidingo), Maurice Paige (Calvin in Isidingo) Linda Sokhulu (Generations and Isidingo) and Bradley Olivier (Villa Rosa, 7de Laan) bring their talents to the stage to tell the story of an old country priest who is visited by his wealthy lawyer son. Multi-award winning Grethe Fox directs.

Programme B sees the perennial favourite Rothschild’s Fiddle directed by Chantal Nativel and featuring the celebrated cast of David Butler, Greg Melvill-Smith and Lynne Maree. It tells the story of Yakov the fiddler and his dislike for the flautist Rothschild.

Craig Morris stars in Plots, which deals with the fantasies of a doctor preparing to address the local medical association.

The Afrikaans Trousseau features Johan Engelbrecht as Chekhov in the telling of a gentle and sad tale of a girl who spends her life making a trousseau for her future fiancé. André Retief directs and the cast includes Karen and Danielle Retief.

Programme C opens with The Brothers by Reza de Wet directed by Andre Stolz. Stiaan Smith plays the detached Chekhov while Gustav Gerdener plays the broken and drunk Alexander. Tessa Jubber plays the fragile Natalia caught between the emotions of the brothers.

The Proposal directed by Lebogang Mphahlele is a delightful larger than life comedy that sees a young man proposing to his neighbour’s daughter. Localized in a “township” setting this laugh a minute comedy is in the excellent hands of Sello Sebotsane, Zethu Dlomo and Thulani Mtsweni.

The third piece Grief takes the audience into a dark place of regret. Directed by award-winning Lionel Newton and featuring Ryan Dittman and Jaques de Silva, Grief follows the anguished wood-turner Grigory Petrov (Ryan Dittman) as he takes his wife to the hospital through a blizzard.

"The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them," wrote Anton Chekhov. Audiences who attended the festival last week were moved by the soulful brilliance of Anton Chekhov's work and engaged by the committed performances of the Chekhov Festival Company.

As Christina Kennedy wrote in the Business Day 10th June, “If you want to be transported by the elegant wordsmithery and dark humour of one of the master dramatists of our time, do “Chekhov” it out.”

The Chekhov Festival runs from 10 June – 15 June at The Fringe at Joburg Theatre.

It concludes with a unique Chekhov Film Festival on Sunday 15 June.

Tickets: R140
Discounts available.

Programme A:
Final Performance on Thursday 12 June at 7:30pm
The Sneeze
Saintly Simplicity

Programme B:
11 13 June at 7:30 and 14 June at 3:00pm
Rothschild’s Fiddle

Programme C:
10 14 June at 7:30
The Brothers
The Proposal

The Film Festival Line-Up for Sunday 15 June:

Double Feature:
- The Lady with the Dog
- An Artists Story

- An Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano

Notes to the editor:

The Lady with the Dog

In Russian with English sub-titles (1960)

The chance meeting of Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna, while both were vacationing in Yalta, is evolving into a serious relationship. But he is married and has a family. Their relationship, developed away from home, open up for both of them a new world, full of illusory hopes for their future life together. Back home, both strive to preserve their love, notwithstanding the circumstances.
Starring Alexei Batalov and Iya Savvina. 

Script and Direction: Iosif Heifits
Duration: 103 min

An Artists Story (English)
Duration: 40 min

1974 BBC Production

An Artists Story is an adaptation of a short story about a confrontation between a young landscape painter and a charitable aristocratic girl.
Featuring: Melvyn Bragg, Patrick Stewart & Meg Wynn Owen

An Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano

In Russian with English subtitles (1977)

The film very loosely based on the wary Chekhov play Platonov, is perhaps even closer top Chekhov than Chekhov was. The director uses this as an opportunity to successfully capture, even embroider, the spirit of a Chekhov story. This stylish treasure examines a village teacher undergoing an emotional crisis who torments himself and his young wife, while a doctor takes out his frustrations on his patients. They all arrive in the country as guests of a general's wife and profess their admiration for the simpler lifestyle, not really believing their own words. Filled with the rapturous music of Liszt, Rachmaninov and Donizetti, this classical chamber drama will capture your mind and emotions.
Director: Nikita Mikhalkov
Starring: Aleksandr Kalyagin, Elena Solovey, Evgeniya Glushenko Account:
Brenda Sakellarides
The Pink Room
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The Chekhov Festival 2014
Related Venue:
Joburg Theatre Complex, Loveday Street Braamfontein Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa