– by guest writer Ty Hallmark-
Some marriages are tragical. Some farcical. All are challenging!
At the time of writing this article, it is the eve of a landmark Supreme Court decision. Soon, the country will know whether nine justices have decided for or against DOMA as the law of the land. While marriage in 2013 is a hot-button topic, it is not a new or unusual point of controversy, as throughout the ages, we have defined and redefined the notion of marriage. Anton Chekhov himself, secretly marrying actress Olga Knipper in 1901, wrote over 150 short stories and plays between 1883 and 1903, many largely dealing with marriage and romantic relationships.
In this spirit, Pallas Theatre Collective has selected several of Chekhov’s short plays to once again examine the institution that has shaped, characterized and defined our relationships for centuries.
As we initially read the script, we suspected we might have had something fun and funny on our hands. Now that our rehearsals are well underway and our actors on their feet (or knees, in several cases – poor actors!), these short plays prove to be comedic gold, full of the usual Chekhov chicanery, wordplay and hijinks. There’s even a heart attack or two thrown in for good measure. We’re calling it The Tragical Mirth of Marriage & Love, because what’s a good marriage without a little bit of comedy amid all the tragedy?
As we placed these short plays in a logical order, we realized we could offer two actors a great challenge: By having our leading man and leading lady play opposite one another in each of the scenes, they not only get to journey down the fairly well-traveled road of love and marriage, but to also inhabit four different characters at four separate times in their respective relationships. These stories and situations might ring true for many, but our actors can show how different people individually approach each stage of this process. We open the show with The Bear and The Proposal and hope audiences will enjoy the sparkling chemistry between our two leads.
The tent pole of our show is Chekhov’s The Wedding – a three-ringed circus with the usual cast of wedding characters: the overbearing mother of the bride, fighting with her new son-in-law; the drunken father of the bride, who makes a special appearance and terrorizes everyone as he goes in for the toast; the daffy and overzealous bachelor chasing after the cute, single bridesmaid; and of course, the infamous wedding crasher, who turns the whole affair on its head.
by Anton Chekhov
at Fort Fringe – The Shop
607 New York Ave, NW
Details and tickets
The Tragical Mirth of Marriage & Love: Short Scenes by Anton Chekhov will feature Michael Boynton, Allison S. Galen and David Dubov, supported by an ensemble that includes K. Clare Johnson, Steve Beall, Luke Cieslewicz, Joseph Michael Jones, Julia Morrissey and Elizabeth Darby.
We will open at the Fringe Festival on July 12 and hold additional performances at Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington and North Bethesda United Methodist Church. All dates and times for performances can be found at Pallas Theatre Collective.
This production is presented as a part of the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.
— Ty Hallmark is the Casting and Collective Manager for Pallas Theatre Collective. The Tragical Mirth of Marriage & Love will be the 10th production she has directed, played, produced and/or stage managed at the Capital Fringe Festival. —