Gillen Plays Platonov in New Hare AdaptationDate: 9 May 2001
Aidan Gillen will play the title role in the Almeida’s upcoming production of Anton Chekhov’s Platonov, in a new adaptation by David Hare. Platonov opens at the converted coach depot at King’s Cross, where the Almeida is residing for a year while its Islington home is renovated, on 11 September and continues to 10 November 2001 (previews from 30 August).
Gillen was just seen in the Almeida’s The Tempest, the last production staged in Islington, which finished its run in February. Although best known now for his starring role in two series of TV’s Queer as Folk, Gillen is no stranger to the stage. His other theatre credits include The Playboy of the Western World (Almeida), Mojo (Royal Court) and Marvin’s Room (Hampstead).
In Platonov, Gillen plays a Russian schoolmaster facing up to the implications of being irresistibly attractive to four different women. Originally referred to as Play without a Title, the piece was written by Chekhov while he was a medical student and was not discovered until 20 years after his death in 1904.
The first English translation, That Worthless Fellow Platonov, was written by John Cournos in 1930. In 1960, Dimitri Makaroff prepared a text (called Platonov) for Rex Harrison who took the title role at the Royal Court. Michael Frayn’s version, re-titled Wild Honey, was produced by the National Theatre in 1984.
The Almeida’s Platonov is directed by the theatre’s joint artistic director, Jonathan Kent, who last took on Chekhov in 1997 with Ivanov (in another version by David Hare) and whose production of Lulu, starring Anna Friel, is currently running at King’s Cross. Platonov is designed by Paul Brown, with lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Jonathan Dove and sound by John A Leonard.
During the run of Platonov, the Almeida will also present readings of I Take Your Hand in Mine, a new play by Carol Rocamora suggested by the love letters of Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper. The play, read on the set of Platonov by Paul Scofield and Irene Worth, is also directed by Jonathan Kent. Performances are on Sunday afternoons at 4.00pm on 23 and 30 September 2001.
- by Terri Paddock