Friday, September 30, 2011

Opening night at the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival - Donka, A Letter to Chekhov

Yesterday was the opening night of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, and with it Donka, A Letter to Chekhov, a play inspired by the life and works of Russian playwright Chekhov. It was a well-chosen play to open the festival, seamlessly combining the serious and the playful. As the very detailed programme for the play says, in the words of Chekhov, "with me the serious always alternates with the trivial". The performance is a melange of styles and media, full of music, singing, dancing, acrobatics, and above all a happy, joyful good humour.

My fellow contributors to this site, Nina and Claire, were also along for the evening. Claire has the advantage of actually speaking Russian and having studied Chekhov; perhaps surprisingly, of the three of us she liked the play least, but I'll leave any such informed criticism to her. Knowing little of Chekhov I simply enjoyed the performance purely for its own sake. Although there are references to his plays, many of the scenes in Donka appear to be inspired more by Chekhov's life than his works; either way, I was very impressed and enjoyed this greatly. I'm pleased to say that the audience, many of whom were veterans of the theatre scene, seemed equally enthusiastic.

Donka has quite a short run (ending on October 2nd) so I'd suggest grabbing a ticket as soon as you can. They normally cost €20 to €40 but you can also pick up a €10 ticket as part of the Festival's Final Call special offer. Honestly, €10 for Donka must the the theatrical bargain of the year.


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