‘The Bear’

by W.Walton, adapted from Chekhov at The Proud Archivist -July 2015

Director: Natalie Katsou
Musical Director: Dale Wills
Designer /Photography/ Lighting Design: Yiannis Katsaris
Producer: Helen bailey
Marketing Manager: Rhiannon Kelly

Grainne Gillis/ Charlotte King -Popova
Ian Helm / Jon Stainsby - Smirnov
Louis Hurst / Derek S. Henderson - Luka

The ‘bear’ of the title is the boor Grigory Stepanovich Smirnov, ‘landowner and retired lieutenant of artillery’, to whom the dead, promiscuous husband of Madam Popova owed thirteen hundred roubles for oats to feed his favourite horse Toby. Smirnov arrives at Madam Popova’s house to collect the debt and is shown into the drawing room by Popova’s servant, Luka, a part that is a mixture of comic and censorious traits. However, while Smirnov is trying to extract the money from Popova, he falls in love with her; he is attracted not only by her good looks, but by her spirited response to his appalling manners and financial demands, one that culminates in her challenging him to a duel. Popova’s final capitulation, witnessed by Luka and two mute parts, the Cook and the Groom, is encapsulated by her last remark ‘tell the groom not to give Toby any oats at all today’; she now has no need to keep her husband’s memory alive by looking after his horse.