“You couldn’t ask for a better union of dramatists than Turgenev and Brian Friel. Turgenev’s play is one of the earliest examples of the Chekhovian theatre of mood (beating Chekhov himself by over forty years), where the dramatic action is largely internal, and the psychology of the characters is put under the knife in front of our eyes. Frustratingly, most playwrights who adapt the Russian plays into English fall short, translating the words but not the theatrical impact of the work. Brian Friel, however, is not most playwrights. He brings out the richness of mood and character in Turgenev’s play with remarkable sensitivity, poeticism, and humanity.
To me, this is a play about the destructive and incendiary nature of desire. There is a web of romantic pursuit that involves every one of the twelve characters, and we see offers, rejections, dismissals and evasions of love at every turn, providing a fiery contrast to the calm, polite setting of an isolated Russian country estate. Nothing reveals humanity to us like moments of unbridled, uncontrolled passion, and A Month in the Country comes alive in these moments.
A motif that we’ve used throughout the production is the physical gesture of the outstretched hand as the embodiment of the act of offering oneself to another. The gesture is very vulnerable, very human, and very simple, and we’ve experimented with it as a connective element to the show. Just as the characters offer themselves to each other, these actors are offering their story to you, extending their hands and asking that you come with us for a few hours in the country.”
-Director James Nelson, A Month in the Country
Click here to read more about the show, buy tickets, and to see the “Map of Desire.”
Meet director James Nelson at our Talk Back on Sunday, March 29th following the matinee.