From Rus­sia With Love

Writ­ings of An­ton Chekhov brought to the­atre stage.

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE - By Dave Mathieson

The writ­ings of An­ton Chekhov, a gi­ant of Rus­sian and world lit­er­a­ture, comes to life next Thurs­day and Fri­day in Amherst.

“I think Chekhov is al­ways very re­ward­ing to work with but you have to bal­ance the irony, the hu­mour and the sym­pa­thy,” said Bev­erly True.

True, along with Bette Dou­glas, is di­rect­ing a tril­ogy of Chekov’s plays and short sto­ries for the Brown Bag The­atre at the Amherst Air Force Club.

From Rus­sia With Love de­picts scenes from three of Chekhov’s clas­sics – The Three Sis­ters, The Cherry Or­chard, and The Weak and De­fense­less Crea­ture.

The Three Sis­ters stars Charley Goldrich. She plays a woman who walks from Odessa to Moscow, a walk of more than 1,100 kilo­me­tres, to au­di­tion for Chekhov in the play The Three Sis­ters.

“She’s very in­ex­pe­ri­enced but she has a great deal of con­fi­dence,” said Dou­glas, who di­rects the scene. “She’s de­ter­mined to be heard by Chekhov. It’s a very beau­ti­ful scene.”

The sec­ond scene stars Mitch St. Peters in The Cherry Or­chard.

“The Cherry Or­chard con­cerns an old aris­to­cratic fam­ily who has fallen down in their for­tunes,” said True, direc­tor of the scene. “They have no money, they are broke, and they have to sell their dear home, which is a man­sion sur­rounded by a cherry or­chard.”

St. Peters plays Lopakhin, a former serf.

Since be­ing set free from serf­dom, Lopakhin has be­come a wealthy mer­chant and has bought the Cherry Or­chard.

“The scene we’re do­ing is when Lopakhin comes in and says to the as­sem­bled fam­ily he has bought the cherry or­chard and is now the mas­ter of the es­tate,” said True.

The third scene de­picts Chekhov’s short story The Weak and De­fense­less Crea­ture, also di­rected by Dou­glas.

The scene fea­tures Lawry MacLeod as the banker, Val Christie as his as­sis­tant, and Mary MacLeod as the weak and de­fence­less crea­ture.

“It’s an el­derly lady whose hus­band has been dis­missed from his job for no rea­son and not given his fi­nal pay. She be­lieves she can come to the bank man­ager and get the money,” said Dou­glas.

From Rus­sia With Love runs next Thurs­day and Fri­day at noon at the Amherst Air Force Club, at 31 Have­lock Street, across from the Post Of­fice.

“Doors open at 11:45 and there is a brown bag lunch with a turkey sand­wich, juice, tea and cof­fee,” said Dou­glas. “Pa­trons eat and visit their neigh­bors, and then the play starts at about 12:15, and it should be over at about 12:45.”

For tick­ets or for more in­for­ma­tion call 902-667-7002. Tick­ets can also be bought at Buds to Blos­soms Flower Shop.

Dave Mathieson – Amherst News

Mary MacLeod (left) plays an el­derly woman in The Weak and De­fence­less Crea­ture, while Lawry MacLeod (right) plays the bank man­ager and Val Christie his as­sis­tant. The scene is one of three de­picted in From Rus­sia With Love, a Brown Bag The­atre pro­duc­tion.

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