From June 4 to 16 the brilliance of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov will be celebrated in a vibrant Festival at the Fringe at Joburg Theatre.
In 2004, the inaugural Chekhov Festival was presented under the auspices of the Joburg Theatre. In the space of two short weeks a company of nine directors and 23 actors performed an array of Chekhov stories and plays to an enthusiastic Festival audience. Attesting to the spirit of ensemble playing and innovative theatre making, the Chekhov Festival received 2 Naledi Theatre Awards nominations that year.
Ten years later and The Joburg Theatre will play host to the 2nd Chekhov Festival. An ensemble of 30 actors and directors will stage three different programs from the writings of arguably one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century.
Anton Chekhov inspired many authors of the 20th century and continues to inspire new generations with his complex characters, universal themes and his ability to make the ordinary extra-ordinary. He has been acknowledged as the most performed playwright in the world – second only to Shakespeare. 110 years after his death he continues to attract and charm many of the world’s finest actors, directors and theatre companies.
The Chekhov Festival is the brainchild of Johannesburg based actor, director and producer Andre Stolz. With each program audiences will be exposed to a variety of works including short story adaptations, favourite one act plays and dramatic readings. Highlights include ‘Brothers’, by the late Reza de Wet, which explores the relationship between Anton Chekhov, his brother Alexander and Natalia – Alexander’s fiancé. An undoubted creative coup is the premiere of ‘Oppad’, the Afrikaans adaptation of On the Road –the short story, which inspired Sergei Rachmaninoff to write his ‘Fantasy for Orchestra Op.7’ popularly known as ‘The Rock’.
Alice Smith translated the work from the original Russian into Afrikaans. Conceived as a chamber piece, ‘Oppad’ comprises six performers: four actors and two musicians. The main themes of Rachmaninoff’s emotionally charged music will be played by celebrated musicians Zanta Hofmeyr (violin) and Kutlwano Masote (cello). Andre Stolz directs.
The Festival also includes a mini Chekhov Film Festival.
* For bookings and the full program for the two week-long festival, visit www.joburgtheatre.com, or the Chekhov Festival Facebook page. Alternatively book on 0861 670 670.
The Fringe is situated at Joburg Theatre, 163 Boulevard, Braamfontein. There will be a special Youth Day performance in The Nelson Mandela Theatre on June 16.