Karen Sunde's play, To Moscow, will have its New York premiere on Oct. 6 at Off-Broadway's Chain Lightning Theatre (at the downtown One Dream Theatre space).
Directed by Steve Deighan, To Moscow tells the story of Anton Chekhov's years at the Moscow Art Theatre (1898-1904), including his working relationship with Konstantin Stanislavski, who developed the "method" theory of acting, later taken on by Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio in New York. We also meet the women in Chekhov's life, notably actress Olga Knipper, who became his first wife.
To Moscow was developed in 1986 as part of Sunde's McKnight Fellowship. The play received a reading at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis as part of that fellowship, followed by a college production in Kansas and a workshop staging at the American Globe Theatre Off Broadway. Translated into Turkish, To Moscow ran for a year at the Devlet Ankara National Theatre in Ankara, Turkey.
Producer Claire Higgins told Playbill On-Line that To Moscow is special because it's an ensemble piece being done by Chain Lightning, an ensemble troupe. "There are four meaty roles for women, and Karen [Sunde] herself has played many of those roles in Chekhov's plays. (Sunde was an associate director at NY's Classic Stage Company.)
Sunde's works, which tend to be international in theme, include Dark Lady, Balloon, Anton Himself and Masha, Too. The Chain Lightning Theatre was founded in 1991 and has since staged, among other plays, Craig's Wife, The Beautiful People, and O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Elektra. Each season they try to present "an infrequently produced non-American play." For tickets and information regarding To Moscow, call (212) 219 2085.
-- By David Lefkowitz