At a press launch held at Wyndham's Theatre this morning, director Andrei Konchalovsky discussed his upcoming Chekhov double bill, his reasons for presenting the plays in their original Russian language and his thoughts on how the situation in Ukraine will effect the production.
Talking about how the shows are running in rep, Konchalovsky said: "It's basically one production of two plays... We use the same set and the same actors, it's like one orchestra playing three parts of the symphony.
"I wanted to do it with The Cherry Orchard as well, but I think it would be difficult for the audience to see three plays in one day... But this is like a day with Chekhov, you can come and see Uncle Vanya for the matinee and then in the evening Three Sisters."
When asked about his decision to present the plays in their original Russian language with English surtitles, the director joked, "I think it's easier to see Chekhov in Russian than in Chinese! ... I think part of the audience will be Russian speakers, but I also think that London is quite sophisticated and knows Chekhov, so I don't think (the language barrier) is a problem... The most important factor is the flow, you can watch a good director on the stage and feel what is going on without understanding a word."
The conversation predictably moved on to the current situation in Ukraine when host Emily Buchanan, World Affairs Correspondent for the BBC, asked his thoughts on the threat of sanctions and visa restrictions.
Konchalovsky, obviously not wanting to be drawn on the subject in great detail, replied, "Theatre is theatre, people are coming not because of something happening in politics. As a matter of fact, more people go to the theatre during wars, the best pieces of work were made during the plague."