YOUNG CHEKHOV: THE BIRTH OF A GENIUS
by Anton Chekhov
in new versions by David Hare
Director Jonathan Kent
28 September – 14 November
Festival Theatre, Chichester
Lucy Briers, Pip Carter, Peter Egan, Brian Pettifer, Nina Sosanya and Olivia Vinall are now confirmed among the 23-strong ensemble in a major season of Anton Chekhov’s early plays at Chichester Festival Theatre, joining the previously announced Anna Chancellor, James McArdle and Samuel West.
The remaining members of the 23-strong ensemble are Emma Amos, Nebli Basani, Jonathan Coy, Mark Donald, Col Farrell, Joshua James, Beverley Klein, Des McAleer, Mark Penfold, Sarah Twomey, David Verrey and Jade Williams (with other casting to be confirmed). These actors will work together for three months before the Young Chekhovseason opens at the Festival Theatre in September. Between them, the ensemble will play around 50 parts in total.
Each of the three plays can be seen as a single performance or they can be enjoyed as one event, either over different days or as one intense theatrical experience on Trilogy Days. With over 5,000 tickets at £10 available across the Young Chekhov season, audiences can see all three plays for as little as £30.
This season within a season is anchored by a trio of talent – Chekhov himself, playwright David Hare, and director Jonathan Kent, returning to Chichester following his triumphant production of Gypsy in Festival 2014. Young Chekhovreunites Kent and Hare who have previously collaborated on productions for the Almeida Theatre.
These three plays, written when Anton Chekhov was young, offer a new perspective on the dramatist, revealing a youthful anger and romanticism that is very different to his mature, more familiar work.
The central character in Platonov is a debt-ridden schoolteacher who is about to lose his home, yet remains irresistible to women. This freewheeling comedy set in the middle of nowhere explores the traps of conventionality and moral hypocrisy.
Nikolai Ivanov is a councillor and landowner who has tried to live in a bold new way, taking risks in everything from business to romance. Now his estate is failing and his wife is dangerously ill. Ivanov is an angry and outspoken satire, full of a passion that Chekhov would forego in his later plays.
In The Seagull, a bold new play by a young writer is about to be staged. What happens during the performance, and in the days that follow it, will change the lives of everyone involved. The best known of the Young Chekhov trilogy is a meditation on love and art that’s both comic and tragic.
Anna Chancellor plays Irina Arkadina in The Seagull. She was last at Chichester in Private Lives and South Downs/The Browning Version (both of which transferred to the West End). Other credits include The Wolf from the Door (Royal Court Theatre) and The Last of the Duchess (Hampstead Theatre).
James McArdle plays the title role in Platonov and Yevgeni Lvov in Ivanov. He previously appeared at Chichester in A Month in the Country. Other credits include The James Plays at the Edinburgh Festival and National Theatre, and the West End production of Chariots of Fire.
Samuel West plays the title role in Ivanov and Boris Trigorin in The Seagull. He was last seen at Chichester in Enron andDoctor Faustus. Other acting credits include the West End production of Uncle Vanya, as well as Betrayal and Family Reunion (both for the Donmar Warehouse).
Lucy Briers plays Zinaida Savishna in Ivanov and Polina in The Seagull. She last appeared at Chichester in Top Girls(also West End). Other credits include the RSC productions of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (also West End and Broadway), Behud (Soho Theatre) and The Voysey Inheritance (National Theatre).
Pip Carter plays Sergei Yoynitzev in Platonov and Medvedenko in The Seagull. His credits include the West End production of Posh, The Cherry Orchard, The White Guard, Gethsemane and Present Laughter (all for the National Theatre) and Tiger Country (Hampstead Theatre).
Peter Egan plays Count Shabyelski in Ivanov and Sorin in The Seagull. His Chichester credits include The Cherry Orchard, The Rivals and Caesar and Cleopatra. Other credits include Other Desert Cities (The Old Vic), People, Noises Off and Engaged (all for the National Theatre) and the West End production of Art.
Brian Pettifer plays Timofei Bugrov in Platonov and Kosych in Ivanov. His credits include screen roles in Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell, The Musketeers and Bleak House, as well as stage roles in Yer Granny (National Theatre of Scotland) and The Fairy Queen at Glyndebourne.
Nina Sosanya plays Anna Petrovna in Platonov and Ivanov. Her theatre credits include the The Vote, Privacy and The Vortex (all for the Donmar Warehouse), the West End production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Love’s Labour’s Lost for the RSC. Television credits include W1A and Last Tango in Halifax.
Olivia Vinall plays Soyfa Yegorovna in Platonov, Sasha in Ivanov and Nina Zarechnaya in The Seagull. Her credits include The Hard Problem, King Lear and Othello (all for the National Theatre).
The cast also includes Emma Amos as Marfusha Babakina in Ivanov, Nebli Basani as Yakov in Platonov, Piotr and a Guest in Ivanov and Yakov in The Seagull, Jonathan Coy as Porfiri Glagolyev in Platonov and Pavel Lebedev in Ivanov,Mark Donald as Kiril Glagolyev in Platonov, Col Farrell as Marko in Platonov and First Guest in Ivanov, Joshua Jamesas Nikolai Triletsky in Platonov and Konstantin in The Seagull, Beverley Klein as Katya in Platonov and Avdotya Nazarovna in Ivanov, Des McAleer as Osip in Platonov, Mikhail Brokin in Ivanov and Shamraev in The Seagull, Mark Penfold as Vasili in Platonov and Gavrila in Ivanov, Sarah Twomey as Maria Grekova in Platonov and a Guest inIvanov, David Verrey as Pavel Shcherbuk in Platonov and Third Guest in Ivanov, and Jade Williams as Sasha Ivanovna in Platonov and Masha in The Seagull.
David Hare’s numerous credits include the world premiere of South Downs at Chichester (also West End), the National Theatre’s trilogy of plays about British institutions, Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges and The Absence of War, adaptations such as The Blue Room (Donmar Warehouse and Broadway), and most recently Behind The Beautiful Forevers, also for the National Theatre. He is also an acclaimed screenwriter and has received Academy Award nominations for The Hours and The Reader.
Director Jonathan Kent returns to Chichester following his acclaimed productions of Gypsy, Private Lives and Sweeney Todd, all of which transferred to the West End. Other credits include Good People (Hampstead Theatre and West End),Oedipus (National Theatre), Don Giovanni and The Fairy Queen (both for Glyndebourne).
Design is by Tom Pye whose credits include Mother Courage, Major Barbara, and Measure for Measure (all for the National Theatre), Happy Days (National Theatre, BAM and World Tour), The Wolf from the Door, The Low Road, and NSFW (all for the Royal Court Theatre) and the West End production of Sinatra (West End).
Costume Design is by Emma Ryott whose credits include The Great Gatsby (Dresden), Anna Karenina (Oslo and Moscow), The Heart of Robin Hood (RSC and international tour), and Rock ‘n Roll (Royal Court Theatre, West End and Broadway).
Lighting Design is by Mark Henderson whose Chichester credits include Gypsy, Sweeney Todd and Private Lives (all of which transferred to the West End) and ENRON (also Royal Court Theatre, West End, Broadway and tour), West End productions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as The History Boys and The Habit of Art (National Theatre).
Sound Design is by Paul Groothuis, Chichester’s Associate Sound Designer. Chichester credits include Festival 2015’sA Damsel in Distress, as well as Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, The Pajama Game, Private Lives, Kiss Me, Kate, andRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, all of which transferred to the West End.
Composition is by Jonathan Dove whose credits include Trelawny of the ‘Wells’, Wild Oats, Mother Courage and Peter Pan (National Theatre) Zenobia and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC) and ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Young Vic).
Young Chekhov: The Birth of A Genius is sponsored by Wiley. The Seagull is sponsored by De’Longhi.
Writer David Hare and director Jonathan Kent will be in conversation with novelist and CFT biographer Kate Mosse at a pre-show talk on Thursday 15 October at 5.45pm. Tickets are free but booking is essential.
Meet some of the Young Chekhov company at a post-show talk hosted by writer Simon Brett on Wednesday 21 October.
There will be a rehearsed reading of Anton Chekhov’s Swan Song on Saturday 31 October at 11am. This vaudeville piece about an old actor and his prompter was adapted from one of Chekhov’s own stories, and established his reputation in the theatre in 1888.
Join the technical crew and creative team for 90 minutes of insight, demonstration and discussion on the making of theYoung Chekhov trilogy at a Schools Theatre Day on Wednesday 4 November at 11am. Tickets £13.50, which includes the matinee performance.
The Young Chekhov season is at the Festival Theatre, Chichester from 28 September – 14 November. Performance times vary. Tickets from £10. To book, go to cft.org.uk or contact the Box Office on 01243 781312.
Special Prices for 16 – 25s
An allocation of tickets for 16 – 25 year olds priced at just £8.50 for all performances of the Young Chekhov season will go on sale on 28 August. These may be booked on 01243 781312, online at cft.org.uk/850 or in person.