Opening tonight, Quotidian’s new production presents two short plays 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 the DC area premiere of A Little Trick, a memory play about lost love translated and adapted from Chekhov’s short story of the same name. David Dubov plays Andrey in Afterplay, and wraps up his rehearsal blog series here:
As I was sitting down to write this blog post heading into the opening of Brian Friel’s Afterplay, I was struggling to find a topic on which I hadn’t already at least touched. Tenuous human connections – check. Physicality – check. Subtlety in Friel’s work – check.
I was out of ideas and, frankly, tired since tech week is, as any theatre person can tell you, exhausting.
Then I suddenly received an e-mail. From myself. Sent nearly 10 months ago.
This e-mail had a picture attached of two gravestones concealed in an overgrown, hillside cemetery in Provincetown, MA. Not all that exciting, but it struck my eye at the time and I felt strongly enough about it to send it to myself. It was an image, a memory I wanted to preserve.
Leaving the vagaries of electronic communication aside (what’s going on, Gmail?), this message from the past was like a memory itself. It appeared quietly, unbidden, unexpected. Once viewed it was surprisingly evocative – the photo (which I had completely forgotten I’d taken) brought an entire rush of cascading memories – of the warm summer sun; the fun of that vacation; the hurricane that roared through while we were there (really!); even the smell of the lush vegetation in the patch of neglected ground.
My surprise photo memory and my emotional reaction to it, as an actor, gives me further experience to use when playing Andrey Sergeyevich. His memories – of his sister, of his failed marriage, of his rather sad life – are not evoked, obviously, by a message or even by a photo, but by his very real connection to Sonya Aleksandrovna in their encounter in the cafe. And it is the chance nature of that encounter that opens the cascade of memory that he experiences. The cascade also opens wider floodgates for him that allows him to be, in some measure, washed clean of his long suffering.
Because of a 2012 glitch, I find myself closer than ever to 1920 Andrey. Thanks, Gmail.
Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of Afterplay and A Little Trick opens tonight and runs through 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.