Preview: Three Sisters, Gate Theatre, London
It's Chekov but not as you know it
Tuesday 10 June 2008
Is it ordered chaos or total madness? This unruly interpretation of Chekhov's Three Sisters – winner of the first Gate/Headlong New Directions Award, which celebrates new approaches to classic plays – is Chris Goode's second experiment on a classic text, since his reworking of The Tempest, in 2000, was performed in people's private living rooms at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Goode has dismantled the Chekhov text about the Prozorov family, leaving a basic thread of the original, including all the characters. The six actors will build on those bare bones by improvising a different version of the story each night as they go along. "They can move through those fragments of the original play in pretty much any order that they like," says Goode. "They can be playing any character they want at any time. The actress could be playing Natasha one minute and Masha the next. Often more than one actress is playing Natasha at any one time."
Goode's work has always been inventive. He set up the theatre company Signal to Noise in 1991 in order to break down theatrical barriers, and in 2002 won a Fringe First prize for Kiss of Life, a romantic comedy about a bored young man whose life is transformed by a suicidal stranger. In 2004, Goode followed this with Escapology, about six historical figures trapped in a waiting room, which shifted seamlessly between scripted and improvisational material. The following year he put on Homemade, a play about a first date that was performed in the audience's home; his one-man show, We Must Perform A Quirkafleeg!, was also performed in private residences. His 2006 show Longwave was a black comedy performed without words, featuring two scientists stranded together in a post-apocalyptic world.
"Everybody recognises the potential for chaos in ...Sisters," says Goode. "All the time they are trying to make fresh choices that create meaningful encounters between the characters but that at the same time create something new that might grow out of an improvised moment."
To 5 July (020-7229 0706)
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services