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The Essay - Chekhov Essays - Simon Russell Beale


Simon Russell Beale, who is amongst the most distinguished and popular actors on the British stage, reveals what he has learned from Chekhov in terms of theatre-craft. After Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov is the most perfomed playwright in the world and amongst the most revered writers of short stories. While the pleasure he has given to theatre audiences and readers is immense, these Essays explore his legacy in terms of the craft and technique that he continues to bequeath to theatre practitioners and writers today. In the first of five programmes celebrating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Chekhov's birth, the hugely popular actor Simon Russell Beale confides how the opportunity to perform in The Seagull with the Royal Shakespeare Company twenty five years ago, transformed his entire career. "I can't pretend to know precisely what my new employers saw in me, but I suspect that they wanted to use me, at least initially, as a comic actor - or as a young character actor, to use the old terminology. This was not unexpected. I could not imagine myself, even in my most self-deluded moments, as Lysander or Romeo or Sebastian.....And then Terry Hands, the Artistic Director at the time, cast me as Konstantin in The Seagull by Anton Chekhov.....".