Chekhov in NY: on Lake Lucille, in Buffalo

There’s always Chekhov, where ever and whenever you turn, in the world, in the American theater, in New York and even this coming season, in DC. And we’ll be seeing a couple this weekend. We’re heading up to NYC tomorrow, first for a reading at Ensemble Studio Theatre of the latest draft of ARIEL SHARON HOVERS BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH AND DREAMS OF THEODOR HERZL by David Zellnik. David’s working with our wonderful friend Daniella Topol and we’re all eager to see where this new collaboration is going and how the play resonates a year after its workshop production in our first Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival. It’s a play whose development we’re closely monitoring; or let me be simpler — we still feel very close to this play. So this is how we stay close. We shelp up for a reading of the latest draft with a brand new director. That night (Thursday), hoping to get into see A.R. Gurney’s BUFFALO GAL at Primary Stages. It’s Pete’s adaptation (that’s what his friends call him – A.R. is Pete – and used to be a friend back from Circle Rep days) of THE CHERRY ORCHARD. There’s an amazing article about the well received show in the Buffalo News — That’s where the play premiered back in 2002 and the play’s about an actress returning to a struggling Buffalo theater company, much like the city’s Studio Arena Theatre is struggling right now (almost closing its doors).

On Saturday we go up to Rockland County to see an outdoor production of Chekhov’s PLATONOV starring Bill Irwin, Betsy Aidem and many others. Here’s part of the invite from the wonderful directors, husband and wife Brian Mertes and Melissa Kievman.

“Each August, a company of actors, designers and musicians spend one week in the homes around our community exploring a play by Anton Chekhov. We invite you to join us for a one-time-only performance of Platonov staged at our old house…. Here’s how it works: Bring your picnic blankets to the east side of the house and potluck food items to Larry’s field down the block. Between acts we’ll pause for a massive neighborhood potluck BBQ. We will provide organic hamburgers and hotdogs and hope you will join us in supporting local growers and sustainable agriculture for this event. As in years past, we will take up a collection for Habitat for Humanity.

So, what fun! What inspiration! And meetings with playwrights and our friends at the Epic. Good stuff and looking forward. And, of course, Broadway will begin previewing the Royal Court Theatre’s production of THE SEAGULL with Kristin Scott Thomas that kicked off this blog 18 months ago when Theater J ventured to London. And then there are the local DC area productions next season.
In Baltimore THE CHERRY ORCHARD, directed by Vincent M. Lancisi, at Everyman Theatre will run
March 18 – April 26, 2009 while in Virginia, a month earlier, Chris Henley will stage his CHERRY ORCHARD for Washington Shakespeare Company. Here’s their moving blurb:

Madame Renevskaya faces eviction and so does WSC. The Cherry Orchard will be the last play performed by WSC at Clark Street Playhouse, WSC’s home for the past thirteen seasons. However, WSC will not be moving to Paris with the sale of our cherry orchard, but to a new and exciting home in downtown Rosslyn.

Tis the season…