From Simon to Chekhov - Athlone Little Theatre takes on the greats

Members of Athlone Little Theatre: Back L-R Ronan Flynn, Harry Smith, Ian Mun, and John McGlynn; Front L-R Annette Dowling, Paddy Martin, Ashling Kelly, Brenda Bigley, and Ann Hoey.

Members of Athlone Little Theatre: Back L-R Ronan Flynn, Harry Smith, Ian Mun, and John McGlynn; Front L-R Annette Dowling, Paddy Martin, Ashling Kelly, Brenda Bigley, and Ann Hoey.

Athlone Little Theatre opens its new season in style as it presents a trio of one act comedies by Neil Simon and Anton Chekhov. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Neil Simon is one of America's most productive and popular dramatists. Regulars to the theatre will be familiar with Simon's farcical style from last season's Last of the Red Hot Lovers or the hilarious Rumours. 

Plaza Suite, written in 1971, is Simon at his funniest. The original play comprised three acts, each involving different characters but all set in Suite 719 of New York City's Plaza Hotel. The middle act stars Brenda Bigley as bored housewife Muriel and John McGlynn as her old high school boyfriend Jessie, and promises to have Athlone audiences rolling in the aisles.

As President Clinton remarked of Simon when presenting him with the Kennedy Center honors, “He challenges us and himself never to take ourselves too seriously. Thank you for the wit and the wisdom.”

A Marriage Proposal and The Bear, plays by the famous Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, continue the romantic theme, as well as providing audiences with a little trivia regarding both writers.   

Neil Simon, who was himself a great admirer of Chekhov, wrote a play called The Good Doctor in which the main character was Chekhov himself. In his work Chekhov combined the dispassionate attitude of a scientist and doctor with the sensitivity and psychological understanding of an artist. He used ordinary conversations, pauses, noncommunication, nonhappening, incomplete thoughts, to reveal the truth behind trivial words and daily life.

Directed by Harry Smith, A Marriage Proposal showcases a wealth of local talent, while Paddy Martin directs Ann Hoey, Annette Dowling, and Ian Munt in The Bear. 

The three one acts run from Thursday to Tuesday October 9 to 14 in Athlone Little Theatre, St Marys Place Athlone. To reserve tickets, call (090 ) 6474324 between 7 and 9pm from Tuesday October 7.

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