Checking out Chekhov

As part of an overall effort to immerse myself into more theatre I’ve been taking advantage of the reciprocal industry tickets that come as a benefit to working at TheatreWorks (the benefit was also extended to us when I worked at the San Jose Repertory Theatre). I decided to check out an Anton Chekhov play called “THREE SISTERS” that was being performed at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

http://www.berkeleyrep.org
Thrust staging for THREE SISTERS at Berkeley Rep...

Not only was it my first time experiencing a Chekhov play, it was my first time visiting Berkeley Rep. And I’m happy to report that both my experiences have been wonderful. I invited my friend, Nishea, who happily accepted and also seemed to enjoy her experience–read about her point of view here. They’ve (Berkeley Rep) really incorporated some social media norms into the audience experience, a good move. For example, when I checked in to FOURSQUARE I was immediately greeted with this pleasant note:

BONUS!

We lined up and snagged ourselves some treats!

That Reeses wedge was royal...

I had the pb affair, an absolutely scrumptious cupcake from the Cupcakery and Bakery called LOVE AT FIRST BITE (clever, eh?). Nishea had the…actually, I forget what she had, but here they are together.

Awesome in your mouth.

The show started on time and although we were on a walk-in list, we managed to secure some wonderful seats and had a great view of the thrust staging. The set was remarkable, detail down to the last last tinge in the silverware. The costumes were suitable (no pun intended) to the time period. I thought it would take some time for me to follow along the dialogue the way Shakespeare’s text does, but I was immediately absorbed.

I was familiar with a couple of the actors in the cast, and I’m not shy to admit that a big reason I came to see the show was to see what James Carpenter, one of a handful of Bay Area Actors I’ve grown to admire and respect, would bring to the table.

Here are some press/production photos courtesy of Berkeley Rep and mellopix.com:

(l to r) Natalia Payne, Heather Wood and Wendy Rich Stetson play the title characters in Sarah Ruhl’s new adaptation of Three Sisters at Berkeley Rep.
(l to r) James Carpenter, Thomas Jay Ryan, Heather Wood and Bruce McKenzie perform Sarah Ruhl’s new adaptation of Three Sisters at Berkeley Rep.
Obie Award-winner Les Waters directed this party scene as part of Sarah Ruhl’s new adaptation of Three Sisters at Berkeley Rep.

While the show was a lengthy three hours it bounced enough energy at the right places to keep my attention hooked. Chekhov is no joke, there were some powerful subtext constantly at work (and effortlessly served by the superb ensemble cast). I can, however, understand why not everyone would enjoy Chekhov.

I managed to tweet some thoughts about the production:

My twitter inspired review of the production / 142 chars per tweet...

Good work Berkeley Rep, you’ve got yourself a fan.

Update: @Berkeleyrep replied to my tweets some days later –

Short and sweet --hope to catch the next show...

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