Irish Repertory Theatre presents Brian Friel's play about the later lives of two of Chekhov’s enduring characters: Sonya from 'Uncle Vanya' and Andrey from 'The Three Sisters.' Part of Origin’s 1st Irish Festival. More…
They meet by chance in a late-night cafe in 1920s Moscow. The concert violinist and determined estate owner are unable to escape their origins—the circumstances furnished by their creator are still determining their lives. Part of Andrey remains a boy, while Sonya is still hopelessly in love with the local doctor. Now middle-aged, the characters are comforted by their encounter. There is promise in their meeting...until their stories unfold and the glow of their fantasies makes way for reality.
"It is enjoyable to see how Friel has allowed these characters to whisper to his intuition about where they might be after Chekhov’s ink dried on the last pages of both plays...Friel’s exercise is a human character study that is both witty and poignant...The able director Joe Dowling and the superb cast lay bare in this beautifully rendered production whose concision and acutely threaded authenticity are a breath of fresh air." Full Review
"Friel was no purveyor of audience-baiting gimmicks, and his sensibility has led many to call him the Irish Chekhov. If 'Afterplay,' which can be enjoyed as an accomplished late-career chamber piece, proves anything, it's that these two playwrights, who lived decades apart, saw the world in remarkably similar ways...Friel's script is catnip for actors, and, under Joe Dowling's remarkably detailed direction, those fine Irish actors form a double portrait of middle-aged survivors." Full Review
"Brian Friel has written an immensely delicate piece. The first time one hears the name Vanya, it’s difficult not to wonder whether the play is an exercise, something the playwright might’ve created to amuse himself. By virtue of its unfussy truth and superb performances, however, the writing captures and holds attention...I can’t imagine a more balanced pair of actors...Director Joe Dowling has a light touch with serious subjects and skill with slow revelation." Full Review
"There are bright echoes of Samuel Beckett in Friel’s mordantly funny script and in Dowling’s nimble direction...Crowley is pitch perfect as the by turns proud and pretentious concert violinist...Molloy is ideally cast and gives such authoritative line readings that she becomes the still center of the show, the eye of its storm...It’s just two people meeting in a tea room but nothing less is at stake than their happiness, their sense of themselves, their past and what’s left of their futures." Full Review
"Friel's one-act is infinitely gentle...'Afterplay' winds up as a mere atmospheric exercise by comparison, best enjoyed by those who know the sources. It is exquisitely executed, though. Joe Dowling's production gives Molloy and Crowley plenty of room to stretch, so even these miniature portraits feel lived in and real. Crowley in particular gives us a marvelous rendering of a man realizing that melancholy itself might be the grounds for a new friendship." Full Review
"Brian Friel’s melancholy, pocket-size play...Mr. Friel had been compared to Chekhov, with his gentle humor and reflective, subtle writing. That's certainly on display here. Nevertheless, the hourlong 'Afterplay' is a minor work by this Irish master, and could seem slight were it not for the superb pairing of Dermot Crowley and Dearbhla Molloy. Their dialogue sounds extemporaneous, their monologues genuine and heartfelt. Just as important, each listens to the other with visible compassion." Full Review
"The Irish levity of Friel's dialogue, directed with palpable heart by Joe Dowling, makes for an enjoyable back-and-forth. But the piece doesn't truly capture our imaginations until this carefully laid groundwork of exposition reveals an organic bridge between the two protagonists. Sonya and Andrey make an ingenious pairing for Friel's joint epilogue...Even if the story of Sonya and Andrey is not resolved in the way we'd like, we appreciate the chance to greet them again." Full Review
"This is ultimately a one-joke play that becomes more and more unsupportable in its thinness as its gag is explored. Without a production and actors operating at the highest level, it would seem a lark more deserving of your laughs than your concerns. Even with them, as here, it's teetering on the edge. But it doesn't fall off, because Dowling, Molloy, and Crowley are determined to find enough truth in it to keep it upright." Full Review
See it if you enjoy exquisite acting, especially from Dermot Crowley. The writing is intelligent. You need to know something about the characters.
Don't see it if you are not a fan of Chekhov, and do not know who these characters are and from what plays they appear.
See it if you believe that magic can happen when two great actors sit on a stage and speak a great playwright's words.
Don't see it if you don't like Chekhov, or you're such a Chekhov purist you can't stand the idea of someone else writing a play about his characters.
See it if You are a fan of Chekhov, but not wanting to see Chekhov per se.
Don't see it if You only like mainstream shows, and do not want to take a chance on something different.
See it if You want to experience two older people struggling with fantasy vs. reality and other issues. Wonderful dialog and acting.
Don't see it if You prefer something brighter or bigger. This is a "slice of life" with a lot to say. You don't need to be familiar with Chekhov.
See it if You enjoy stories about strangers who form an intense connection, wonder what happened to famous literary characters after play is over
Don't see it if You find static, 2 character plays tiring, not a fan of Brian Friel, cannot fathom subtlety or nuance, don't like having to listen
See it if you know and like Chekhov and want an entertaining and totally believable Twenty Years After. True to the spirit, brilliant performances
Don't see it if If you are not familiar with Uncle Vanya and Three sisters, it might not resonate but will probably still grip if you like talky plays in an
Also intimate theater
See it if You wondered what became of characters once their play ended. Has the young persona essentially changed or not? What is the value of hope?
Don't see it if Revisiting literary characters isn't appealing. An exercise more than a play, we eavesdrop on Sonya & Andrey made human by master actors.
See it if You are a fan of Friel (or Chekhov), like imagining the (after)life of fictional characters, enjoy interaction between 2 masterful actors.
Don't see it if Don't like quiet, all-dialogue, little-action work. You have NO knowledge of the plays these characters were in, can't hear implied thoughts
See it if you enjoy seeing great acting in an intimate (in more ways than one) setting
Don't see it if the thought of a two-actor dramatic production staged in a small theater doesn't appeal to you.
See it if you are familiar with Chekhov and these particular characters, you are looking for a quiet pleasant theatrical evening
Don't see it if you are not familiar with "Three sisters" and "Uncle Vanya" or if you don't like calm, dialogue-heavy shows
See it if Exquisitely acted chamber piece about missed opportunities & thwarted lives, slight but poignantly staged
Don't see it if Not familiar with Chekhovian source material; not a fan of dialogue driven drama
See it if You like the idea of "what happened to...."The idea of the play is engaging even if the execution falls flat. Lovely stage set but static
Don't see it if you want engaging and interesting characters who have something to say and something to do. There is no relationship between the characters
See it if you care about two checkov characters meet years later; excellent acting but very short and inconsequential. Good set.
Don't see it if you want longer shows. too short. forgettable...story not that interesting. better read then seen.
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