The Yalta GameThe Yalta Game premiered in 2001 and is adapted from Chekhov's short story Lady With a Lapdog. Dmitry, a middle-aged accountant on holiday, passes the time by playing "The Yalta Game", making up histories for the other tourists. When he meets Anna, what starts as a routine seduction turns into an intense romance which goes beyond their holiday encounter. But did their relationship really exist? It's an intriguing and witty piece which plays with themes of appearance and reality, alternating between intimate dialogue and monologues addressed directly to the audience.
Brian Friel is a leading Irish playwright, best known for plays such as Dancing At Lughnasa, Translations and Faith Healer. He is perhaps the most Chekhovian of contemporary dramatists and that influence is apparent in these two short plays, together with Friel's own inventive approach to theatrical form and his recurring theme of the power of real or imagined memory.
Afterplay, a more straightforward piece, premiered in 2002. In a Moscow cafe in the 1920s, a middle-aged man and woman encounter each other. She's here to finance a rescue plan for her rural estate; he's a down-at-heel violinist busking for a living. But she is Sonya from Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and he is Andrey from The Three Sisters. In this autumnal "conversation piece" between two lonely strangers, Friel revisits the lives of those Chekhov characters and re-imagines them after 20 years of great social change. This little gem captures the bittersweet Chekhovian mood of comedy and underlying tragedy with warmth, wit and humanity.
"Tea and sympathy with a dash of vodka and some little white lies"
The Yalta Game