Sunday, 30 January 2011
Sovremennik's Cherry Orchard
On Friday I witnessed the final, and most moving, of the Sovremennik productions at the Noel Coward Theatre. I understand completely now why Chekhov wanted this to be played as a comedy (as it most certainly was in this production) - because as a comedy the real pathos is allowed to leak through. The final scene, with Mme Ranevskaya and her brother Gayev crouching in the candlelight taking one last look at their childhood home was heartbreaking. Neelova who played Mme Ranevskaya had a strange resemblance to the young Prunella Scales, in billowing organza. Her performance was agonizingly wonderful, girlish, sensual, passionate - a woman who has tried to hide from loss but it clings to her and drags her away.
I had an excellent stalls seat for the second half, in a deal I made with one of my fellow queuers, who took my standing place up in the gods for the second half. As I stood applauding this magnificent production, amongst the Russians in their furs, I realised that I would miss going to the theatre with them all. It has been an exciting week, steeped in Russian history, their wounded longings and wild passionate extravagance. With the Chechen bombing in Moscow overshadowing this trip I wonder what the next episode of their history will be.
Posted by Teresa Howard at Sunday, January 30, 2011