Doctor Chekhov – from Budapest to Galway

MAKING ITS first visit to Ireland, The Russian Theatre-Studio from Budapest are in the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday September 20 with Doctor Chekhov, which combines a number of Chekhov’s stories into a compelling play. The production will be performed in Russian, with English surtitles.

The Russian Theatre-Studio was founded in Budapest in 1997 by actress, teacher, and director, Zinaida Zikherman-Sokolova, who united actors of various nationalities all driven by their love for the theatre and Russian culture.

While the company performs many plays by Russian classic and modern authors, it has also staged works by writers from Hungary, Ukraine, and elsewhere.

Doctor Chekhov is scripted by Zinaida Zikherman-Sokolova and combines nine of Chekhov’s stories as well as excerpts from his diaries and letters. The role of Chekhov himself in the play is taken by Ukrainian actor Igor Vovk.

“Zinaida chose stories which most successfully reveal the image of their author,” he tells me. “Not all of Chekhov’s stories can be played on stage, so she chose those works which work best in a theatrical setting. All of Chekhov’s stories concern eternal questions, and some of them reveal his own mind and character. Zinaida’s main purpose in Doctor Chekhov is to try to show his character and unique outlook through the selected pieces.”

Among the stories featured in Doctor Chekhov are The Unprejudiced Woman, The Familiar Man, and The Drama. The stories are witty sketches, and depict funny situations that fully present the contradictory and varied nature of the Russian people and their lives.

The production also features excellent music by Boris Yakshov and the stories are further complemented by the image of the writer himself and his philosophic speculations about life which are so simple and easy to understand.

“The happiness and joy of life,” said Chekhov, “does not involve money or love, but the truth. If you want to have animal happiness, life still will not let you get drunk and be happy, it will keep on hitting you over the head. Life does not comply with philosophy: there is no happiness without idleness, only things that we do not need really please us. Oh, if only education could be added to diligence and diligence could be added to education”

Due to Zinaida Zikherman-Sokolova’s discriminating theatrical taste and her talented cast of 12, Doctor Chekhov promises to be exciting, fast-moving and filled with an energy that grips audience from the very first minute and does not let go until the last moment.

Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie

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