Chekhov was the favorite playwright of festival founder Nikos Psacharopoulos, who often directed the Russian's ageless works. Among the actors he cast during his tenure were Olympia Dukakis, Blythe Danner, George Morfogen, Austin Pendleton and Louis Zorich. Each of those performers will be involved in The Chekhov Cycle, which runs for only five nights, from Aug. 12 to Aug. 16. All four of the Russian's major plays will be read, as well as a night of letters between him and his wife, actress Olga Knipper. Hunt, Pendleton and Morfogen together helped run the Festival the season after Psacharopoulos died in 1989.
The schedule runs as follows:
• Aug. 12 at 8 PM: Uncle Vanya, directed by Olympia Dukakis
• Aug. 13 at 8 PM: The Three Sisters, directed by Austin Pendleton
• Aug. 14 at 8 PM: The Cherry Orchard, directed by Louis Zorich
• Aug. 15 at 8 PM: The Seagull, directed by Peter Hunt.
• Aug. 16 at 8:30 PM: I take your hand in mine…, a play suggested by the love letters of Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper, read by real-life husband and wife Olympia Dukakis and Louis Zorich, written by Carol Rocamora and directed by Peter Hunt
Other actors expected to take part in the readings include Tom Brennan, Kate Burton, Jennifer Harmon, Austin Lysy, James Naughton, Reg Rogers and Maria Tucci. Some will be recreating roles they played years ago at WTF.
A roundtable discussion of “Chekhov at WTF” will be held at the Clark Art Institute on Aug. 17 at 3 PM. The remaining WTF schedule runs as follows:
Travesties, Aug. 6-17
An Enemy of the People, Aug. 20-24
The Chekhov Cycle, Aug. 12-17