The 2015 Chekhov International Theatre Festival Committee has announced the performances of its seventh festival weekend from Thursday, Sept. 24, through Saturday, Sept. 26. The festival is in a new location this year: Scotts Ridge Middle School Auditorium, 750 North Salem Road in Ridgefield. Evening shows start at 7:30. All shows are family friendly for ages eight and up.
The festival celebrates the legacy of Michael Chekhov, the actor, director and author, who made a profound contribution to the life of the stage and film. He became a part of Ridgefield’s heritage when he moved his world-renowned dramatic art school from England in 1939 to the barn that still stands on North Salem Road. Later he coached many Hollywood greats including Anthony Quinn, Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood, Gregory Peck and Beatrice Straight.
This year’s festival selections were chosen by new Artistic Director Hamilton Clancy. Clancy has served for the last sixteen years as artistic director of The Drilling Company which is home of the well-known ‘Shakespeare in the Parking Lot’, and now ‘Bryant Park Shakespeare’. Clancy can be seen as Kowalski on the hit television series Orange is the New Black and is featured in the upcoming Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg movie Bridge of Spies.
The Chekhov Festival opens Thursday night with a one-man show of Franz Kafka’s tale A Report to the Academy. Creator and actor Drew Valins portrays the character of a human ape in a 70-minute comedy intrigue.
Friday night offers a fairytale folk musical, titled What’s Your Wish, performed by the New York-based Musical Group, Thicket N’ Thistle. This original musical premiered at the 2015 Fringe Festival and was named “Best Bet” by the Theater is Easy website. It tells a sharp witty tale of growing up and the importance of selfishness.
Auto Body Beautiful fills the Saturday 2 PM matinee slot. Written by Suzanne Mernyk, it is a staged reading of her new play. Mernyk’s touching “dramedy” reveals the emotional complications when two young couples try to change course in their lives and marriages. Its vivacious characters take the audience on an exhilarating ride.
The festival ends on Saturday night with As You Like It. One of Shakespeare’s beloved comedies, it entertains as it masterfully weaves a complex plot in only the way Will Shakespeare can. The Drilling Company, who performs the play, has been a festival favorite and aims to please with its energetic and gifted actors. Under Mr. Clancy’s direction, the troupe–which has just completed its 21st season of Shakespeare in New York City–was described by The New York Times as “…one of our city’s grittiest treasures.”
Tickets are $15 per show or $30 for a weekend pass and may be purchased at Ridgefield Town Hall (203-431-2774) or at the door.
For more information, call Abby Walker, the festival administrator at: (203) 274-0261.