by Valerie Fabre:
The air is stifling hot and musty in the Leper Chapel, like a foretaste of what is to come: claustrophobic, anxious boredom. But there is not a single boring second or dull moment when eight actors, each speaking in their own words translating Chekov’s original text, make the two hour play fresh, direct and engaging.
In a cramped two square meters, a chaos of chairs sets the stage for the unfolding of lives, becoming stale and sour so they cannot be enjoyed. Driven by obsessive compulsions, everyone does their best to convince themselves of their happiness, or utter lack of it, and to impose order on inner chaos. Shut off in their own worlds, everyone ignores each other as teapot, tray, roses, books, wine decanter, and never-eaten birthday cake are passed around from hand to hand.
Just so, personal revelation is also passed around without being truly acknowledged, and lives are spent without being satisfyingly lived. Infringing into each other’s space, characters permanently crowd each other out of their own territory, while their hearts and heads burst at the seams with unheard words, broken dreams and crushed hopes. By the end the characters’ crisis becomes ours as they – having now found their names, come and sit with the audience.