Page 7, 20th March 1964

20th March 1964
Page 7
Page 7, 20th March 1964 — THEATRE 11 " PROMPTER "The Seagull" (Queen's

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Locations: St. Petersburg


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THEATRE 11 " PROMPTER "The Seagull" (Queen's

heatre) was a failure when it was first performed at St. Petersburg. Constantin Stanielavsky recognised that this, one of Cliekhov's earlier plays, was a real breakthrough in the theatre Of the day. In his production he showed it for what it really was, a great play.

Today. Anton Chekhov is not Only appreciated, he is revered, and therein often lies the danger, for directors and artistes incline to approach his plays in a Chekhovian mood, instead of creating it.

Chekhov wrote part of hirhself into Treplev, the hero of "The Seagall". The play within the play, written by Tteplev. is ruined by the superficial performance of his lady-love Nina, who, inexperienced in life, cannot appredate the author's interitions. Vanessa Ftedgrave subtly interprets the shallow cteature who only When she herself has suffered personal tragedy, understands Treplev — alas! too late.

The names of the cast assembled for this production would guarantee any play's success hut they are not called upon to do so; their performances are so excellent that they do not need the endorsement of star names.

To list nut a few of this outstanding cast: Peter Finch, Paul Rogers. George Devine, Rachel Kcmpson, Mark Dignam. and not in any way overawed by this

company, Ann Beach, who as•Masha, is especially noteworthy.

Bin over all towers the grande dame of Peggy Ashcroft as Irina, not perhaps an interpretation of a provincial actress as some of us would have it, but then this is not necessarily correct However, Peggy Ashcroft's splendid performance bewitches the audience with every movement and intonation and leaves it spellbound or -to use one of lrina's own olltbutlts. so superbly delivered by this great actress — "in fa tua

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