Dostoyevsky vs. Chekhov

Gots to be quick about this one…late already, and less than 90 minutes until I gotta catch the NEXT show!  A visitor’s ridiculous work is never done, folks…

So as you can see from the title, there’s a nice Russian double-bill going on in  this post.  The first I caught a couple of days ago in the studio space at the GCTC, 9th Hour Theatre‘s production of CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by mad Fyodor Dostoyevsky.   Paring the classic down to a sparse 75-minutes in a new adaptation from Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus, director Megan Piercey Monafu stages the show in a sort-of 3/4 round, surrounding 3 simple set pieces that serve as the various locales in the story.  The tale of a rather gruesome murder centers around bitter intellectual Raskalnikov, played quite solidly by David Benedict Brown, who knew both victims.  This connection, and his more alarming theories on evil and responsibility bring him to  the attention of mild-mannered inspector Porfiry (Paul Washer, delightfully unassuming a the bloodhounded detective), as well as complicating his relationship with a haunted woman in his life (Gabrielle Lazarovitz, who is highly engaging as the unshakeable Sonia).

The play bops between events and their retelling, with Washer and Lazarovitz doing good double-duty from time to time as other supporting characters…Waher is especially grand a Sonia’s drunken father, challenging us to feel sorry for him even as he wallows in sin.  The whole play is an examination of morality and faith, and 9th Hour pulls it off nicely.  Expecially cool is the use of live music, courtesy of cellist Jordan Dyck, who’s sounds deepen the mysteries unfolding.  C&P is a nifty production, and deserves some bigger houses than it’s been getting.  Ya still got a few more days (and it’s right nearby if EAST OF BERLIN is sold out.  Which it is, by the way).

And because one Russian legend just isn’t enough for me, the very next night I took in Third Wall Theatre‘s CHEKHOV REVISITED at the St.James United Church (coincidentally, right now is when 3rd Wall’s second show WOULD be playing in the aforementioned GCTC studio, if things hadn’t gone a little wonky for them…but they’ll be back!).  Thanks to the splendid Vicki M, who helped me out with a ticket she had one, we both got to check out the company’s second run at Anton C.’s gorgeous prose, as well as some of the love letters he exchanged with actress Olga Knipper.  Performing the reading duties one again were Andy Massingham, Kristina Watt, and artistic director James Richardson.  From the endearingly amusing A WORK OF ART to the profoundly heartfelt LADY WITH THE LAP DOG, it was an utter joy to hear, splendid words from amazing talents.  If you weren’t moved, you were likely comatose.  Probably just as well you were already in a church, I suppose…

Wow, these are really short, but I really AM in a hurry right now…gotta dash, but thanks to both these companies for great nights out.  Show’em some love, would ya?  See you at the theatre, Ottawa.  Peace, love and soul,

the Visitor (and Winston)

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