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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


What’s to come in Staller’s upcoming homage to Chekhov

Performers in the middle of “Donka – A letter to Chekhov,” which will be hosted by the Staller Center on Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. (Photo Courtesy of The Staller Center)

Delicate as a glass figurine, soft as a feather or rambunctious as a drunk—these various elements of this play mesh together to interpret one of history’s greatest Russian dramatists and short story writers, Anton Chekhov.

“Donka – A letter to Chekhov” is a homage to Chekhov for writing four of the most memorable drama pieces of all time: “The Seagull,” “Uncle Vanya,” “Three Sisters” and “The Cherry Orchard.”

The play, which is currently tour around the world, will be staged at Stony Brook University on Nov. 10.

Written and directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, Donka is a theatrical treat for the senses. Pasca’s creativity was seen in Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” and the Broadway hit “Rain.”

In “Donka,” Pasca recreates the feeling of lightness—a performance unhindered by one particular actor or theme, that effortlessly glides from act to act, taking the audience out of reality and into the world of theater.

Popular Australian artist David Zampatti writes in his review, “Finzi Pasca’s idea is clear from Donka’s subtitle—it’s a letter not from but to Chekhov; the response of a modern imagination to the great Russian playwright and storyteller.”

This is a whimsical world where music, dance and the circus coexist in harmony. The airy, fluid motions in the play are defined by both subtle and animated illustrations.  Elements from each of Chekhov’s four plays are interpreted through song, dance, allusions and the power of conviction in comedy.

Donka was first staged two years ago in Sweden, and the logistics behind this particular play are complex, according to Alan Inkles, director of the Staller Center. Pulling together safety precautions for the troupe, re-creating the magical feeling in the set and getting everything done in time for the show are challenges Inkles is excited about.

The period costumes designed by Giovanna Buzzi, video projections, unusual props and Pasca’s graphic lighting help carry the play forward like a gush of wind—lightly lifting the performance and the audience to a distant world on the stage.

Comedy as a theme is interpreted through the circus of acrobats, jugglers, musicians and contortionists. The play is set to classic orchestral music that ranges from Maria Bonzanigo to Russian folk dance.

Pasca and his team of eight performers from Italy, Germany, Brazil, Canada and Mexico have created a sophisticated theatrical display of jaw-dropping stunts.

Donka does theater in ways not imagined before.

Students can obtain a discount or and purchase student rush tickets for $7 right before the show begins.

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