What happens to fictional characters when the stories they are in come to an end? Might those from one play mix with those from another, resuming their lives through a different author? Themes of illusion and theatrical conceit abound in Three Russian Encounters, providing a novel combination of three one-act plays ‒ by Russia’s most famous playwright, Anton Chekhov, and the much-acclaimed modern Irish dramatist, Brian Friel.
In The Yalta Game, adapted by Friel from Chekhov’s story, The Lady with the Lapdog, a couple meet, begin an affair and, as they play the game of imagining the lives of those around them, they invent their own story.
Afterplay brings together two of the characters from Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters. Twenty years on, they share their stories, their ‘fictions’ and seek the ‘fortitude’ to keep going.
Swansong finds an ageing actor alone on the stage of a country theatre. His cries wake the Prompter with whom he reflects on past triumphs and his doubtful future.
|Photography: Sean Owen|
"This is theatre at its most powerful. The performances are finely drawn and very involving, and the atmosphere, and the lighting, I could go on! I found it haunting, moving and beautifully staged. And the final piece gave me goosebumps. All in all, a haunting dream of a production which lingers in the mind long afterwards, and with good reason. Bravo!" Barnaby M
"These three short plays are triumphs of writing and are showcased by some seriously strong acting talent. It is an inspired selection of pieces by director Tony Fullwood, and a gem of an evening." James Goffin [click here to read full review]
"That was utterly compelling…. I am moved to silence having been so deeply affected… every performance was totally captivating… please convey to all involved, from two very appreciative audience members… just wow! ... Often folk feel they have to be ‘nice’, commend the effort….but that was truly something of another order." Charlotte C
"Thank you for a wonderful evening of theatre yesterday. Great performances and excellent choice of play. Probably most thought provoking art in Norwich in November. Excellent work." James F
"Went to see Three Russian Encounters at the Sewell Barn. Brilliant evening. Well done everyone!" Etta G
"I guarantee that it will send you home satisfied yet thoughtful, inspired by three well written pieces. "Julian Swainson, Norwich Eye [click here to read full review]
"Bravo!!" Cherry C
"Yet another great performance at the Barn!" Shelagh S
"A fascinating evening at the theatre, with an artfully chosen trilogy of plays which chimed off each other in the most interesting of ways. Beautifully handled, of course, with very strong performers." Jonathan
"Excellent show tonight - congratulations to all involved!" Trevor B
"I thought the production had an admirable clarity and a deceptive simplicity. I like Afterplay very much (I’m currently ploughing through essays on Three Sisters!). The actors were all thinking and listening to each other and there was a lot of good, but not fussy or cluttered, detailed work onstage. So well done all!" Tony (UEA Drama lecturer)
"We really enjoyed it! Well done to all involved." Tasha P
"We really enjoyed the plays the other evening. To the extent that Mike is now rediscovering a rather old copy of Chekhov from our bookshelf! Such a good production, and the actors were impressive. Thank you." Helen
"A most enjoyable Sat matinee of Three Encounters! Well cast with some beautiful introspective moments and good projection!" Robin S
"Absolutely brilliant performances by Steven Scase, Poppy Hiscox, Jen Alexander, Dawn Brindle, David White and Kevin Oelrichs. Only two performances left so I urge you to go and show them your support." Laura L
"My friend and I, as part of our weekend in Norwich, saw [Three Russian Encounters] at the Sewell Barn on Saturday 4th December, and were delighted with the quality of the acting." Roy T