Afterplay & A Little Trick · past productions · Uncategorized

“Remember Me Kindly” and Other Ties that Bind A Little Trick to Afterplay | Quotidian Theatre Company

Stephanie Mumford

Quotidian’s next production is a double dose of theatre inspired by Anton Chekhov. In Brian Friel’s Afterplay, the Dancing at Lughnasa playwright imagines a meeting between two of Chekhov’s characters. Afterplay will be presented in tandem with A Little Trick, a memory play about lost love adapted from Chekhov’s short story of the same name. Directing A Little Trick is Quotidian co-founder, actor, and designer Stephanie Mumford:

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Scott Bloom and Michele Osherow in The Sea Gull (2004)

The classic Russian farewell, “remember me kindly,” is at the heart of Quotidian Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Chekhov’s A Little Trick and Friel’s Afterplay. The major characters in these two bittersweet one-acts expend a good deal of their energy reflecting on, as well as wrestling with, the past. In A Little Trick, a middle-aged man named Ivan looks back on his youth and the missed opportunity with a potential love, and in Afterplay, Sonya from Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and Andrey from Three Sisters share confidences about their past lives and lost loves 20 years after their respective plays have ended.

Doug Prouty and Michele Osherow in the original production of A Little Trick (1999)

Similarly, in casting these two darkly comic memory plays, Quotidian’s artistic director and Afterplay‘s director Jack Sbarbori and I looked back fondly to two dear actors from our Chekhovian past to select Michele Osherow to play Sonya in Afterplay and Jonathan Feuer for Ivan in A Little Trick. Michele Osherow portrayed Sonya in Quotidian’s maiden Chekhovian production of Uncle Vanya in 2001, making her intimately aware of the heartaches and frustrations still plaguing poor Sonya years later in Afterplay. Michele also originated the role of the young woman, Nadya, in A Little Trick.

Jonathan Feuer was only six when I played Masha and Jonathan’s father Michael Feuer played Masha’s overbearing school master husband Kulygin in Three Sisters. I was so impressed by the six-year-old’s enthusiasm for watching the long rehearsals and learning by heart all the characters’ difficult-to-pronounce names, such as “Tuzenbach.” In a later production of Three Sisters that I directed, we had Jonathan play his violin offstage for Andrey. Jonathan went on to play my son in Quotidian’s premiere production of Horton Foote’s Talking Pictures.

Jonathan Feuer and Stephanie Mumford in Talking Pictures (1998)

Reflecting on the present, it is Andrey’s violin playing that ironically links A Little Trick to Afterplay. By the early 1920s, Andrey, played by David Dubov, has become a street musician. Strains of Vivaldi’s “The Winter” from Andrey’s violin propel A Little Trick‘s Ivan back to a bittersweet incident with Nadya, played by Sara Dabney Tisdale. Subsequently, when Andrey enters the Moscow pub where he encounters Sonya, he is wearing the very coat given to him by Ivan.

Remember me kindly!

~Stephanie Mumford

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Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of Afterplay and A Little Trick runs July 20 – August 19. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm, with one added 2pm performance on Saturday, August 18. All performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD 20815. There is ample parking across the street (free on weekends), and the theatre is just blocks away from the Bethesda Metro Station on the red line. Tickets are just $25, or $20 for students or seniors, paid for at the door in cash or by check. Call 301.816.1023 or email quotidiantheatre@comcast.net to reserve.

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