Chatting Chekhov: Pavlos Christodoulou
We caught up with Chekhov Double Bill director, Pavlos Christodoulou, for a quick chat.
What are you most looking forward to with these plays? I’ve never directed any farces or primarily comic works before so I’m most looking forward to seeing whether my ideas about how best to create a show transfer to comedy. My instincts are that focusing on creating comic moments will create a contrived and inorganic performance, and that focussing on character and world will bring about the life that Chekhov intended and this is where the humour lies.
Do you have a favourite moment from the plays? As rehearsals go on it is liable to change, but at the moment I really enjoy the ‘calm before the storm’ moments (as I have dubbed them). The tension-filled silence that occurs as the characters plunge from the polite into the ridiculous is electric.
Has this project changed your opinion of Chekhov? I got interested in working with lesser known works of Chekhov when I collated some short stories into a piece recently called ‘On The Road’, so I knew Chekhov had a capacity for the ridiculous and the satirical in a more concentrated way than occurs in his most famous works. Reading about Chekhov’s life and his letters you find a deeply witty and vivacious character and I think plays like these highlight this side of him as well.
What’s your favourite previous role (or past project)? I’ve been playing Dionysus in The Bacchae for the last year. I have always loved the play and playing a God has been challenging but enriching, and having performed in several places in the UK and in Greece I’ve spent more time with him than any other character so seeing that develop has been wonderful. I think I will come back to the play in the future, probably as a director.
What was the first piece of theatre you ever saw (that you remember!)? My Headteacher at primary school took me to go see His Dark Materials at the National, I remember bring in awe of the piece.
What was the last piece of theatre you saw? Feast by Clout Theatre at BAC. It was a grotesque exploration of consumption (in a very literal way) and the intensity of their performances as well as the use of clowning to construct narrative made it both repulsive and entertaining.
Any pet hates? The disrespect of the artistry and craft of acting; whether it be from a director, producer or even an actor.
If you could go back and give your teenage self one piece of life advice, what would it be? Don’t stop the violin!
You can see the fruits of Pavlos’ labour at The Proud Archivist, London, N1 5ET from the 4-9 August. Tickets are on sale now: bit.ly/CyphersChekhov