The Red Sandcastle Theatre is home this week to The Chekhov Collective and the latest instalment in their Page to Stage Theatrical Readings of Literary Works series, The Fiancé. Also known as “The Betrothed”, The Fiancé was the last short story Chekhov was able to complete before he passed away. This traditionally banal yet uncharacteristically hopeful story is directed by Rena Polley and features a stellar cast; you definitely don’t want to miss this production!
As someone who has always loved being read to and listening to stories, the staged reading format feels like home, especially in an intimate venue like the Red Sandcastle Theatre. I enjoyed how each reader spoke not only when their character spoke but also when their character was being spoken about by the narrator. It made for a fascinating back and forth between readers and kept us always engaged with the story. While I’m more familiar with Chekhov’s theatrical works, I was happy to find many of the same types of characters live inside his short stories as well, and seeing this performance has certainly inspired me to read more of these stories as well.
The readers/actors of The Fiancé are Rena Polley, David Storch, Brenda Robins, and Helen Taylor. Whether they are reading stationary from their music stands or, more frequently, acting out the scenes they’re reading, all four actors are mesmerizing. I love the change in voices and demeanour for each character (if they were playing multiple); it reminded me of why I adore being read to. They allow our imagination to take flight, guided by their storytelling expertise. When they were on their feet they made great use of the space they were in, too! Even using the Red Sandcastle’s (spooky) washroom when the betrothed couple, Nadya and Andrei, are inspecting the house which is to be theirs upon their marriage. They truly brought the story right off of the page and to life before our eyes; it was a joy to watch.
With performances only running until March 5th, you simply must get your tickets to this limited-time-only, fantastic production. They’ve certainly made a life-long fan of me, and I can’t wait to see what next year’s reading will be! For more information and tickets, visit: https://www.thechekhovcollective.com/page-to-stage