Photo: Jose Miguel Jimenez, 2016
Photo: Jose Miguel Jimenez, 2016 
Photo: Jose Miguel Jimenez, 2016
Photo: Jose Miguel Jimenez, 2016 

Chekhov’s First Play

by Dead Centre (Ireland)
Direction: Ben Kidd, Bush Moukarzel

Guest performance during FIND 2016

Already acclaimed by critics and audiences in Great Britain, the young Irish company Dead Centre is now being discovered by international theatres. In »Chekhov’s First Play«, directing duo Bush Moukarzel and Ben Kidd relate the absurdity of the world and of all existence using as a backdrop the play »Platonov«, the early work by Checkhov which is considered to be unstageable. Less of an adaptation than an ambush, the production gradually dissolves the play’s form and content. »Look at how rubbish and boring your lives are!« Summer in the Russian provinces. Just like every year, people gather at the country estate of a general’s young widow, Anna Petrovna, abandoning themselves to total inertia. No one suffers it as desperately as Platonov, the village schoolmaster. Whereas in Chekhov’s play he is given to making expansive speeches and philosophising, in Dead Centre’s version he doesn’t utter a single word. He is the black hole around which all the others revolve. For a long time he doesn’t even show up. Only in the middle of the play, as the historical scenery is literally torn in two, he appears, mute and serving as a screen onto which desires and hopes are projected – not only by the characters around him but also, above all, by the performers.

Dead Centre
Founded by Bush Moukarzel and Ben Kidd in Dublin in 2012. Their first project »Souvenir« was created for the Dublin Fringe in 2012. Guest performances at The Yard in London in April 2013 and in New York in November 2013. The second project »(S) quark!« was presented once on Bloomsday in Dublin and then toured in July 2013 to Russia. »LIPPY« premiered in September 2013 in Dublin. Until now, the play travelled to New York, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Young Vic in London. Their most recent play »Chekov’s first play« premiered in October 2015.

>>> Essay about the production in Pearson's Preview: Unfinished Plays for Unfinished People: Dead Centre in Berlin

Duration: ca. 70 minutes

Co-commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre and Irish Arts Center, New York. Co-production: Dublin Theatre Festival, Baltoscandal (Rakvere) and Le Théâtre National de Bordeaux en Aquitaine. Project co-produced by NXTSTP, with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union. This tour is made possible by the support of Culture Ireland.