Aspiring local actors win parts in Sons Without Fathers
A number of participants from across the Community & Education groups were auditioned for the parts and the successful candidates selected by the director, Helena Kaut-Howson, are Chris Penk and Amy Thompson from the Senior Youth Theatre, Benjamin Lesley from the Young Company and Christopher Old from the 50+ group.
Aside from Benjamin Lesley, who had a role in the Belgrade’s production The Dark at the Top of the Stairs last year, this will be the aspiring actors’ first time in a professional production. Prior to this, they have been cutting their teeth in Community & Education productions with Chris Penk performing in Ministry of Meh and Truth or Dare and Benjamin Lesley performing in Spring Awakening and most recently Playlist.
Although a fairly recent member of the Belgrade’s 50+ group, Christopher Old is no stranger to the Belgrade stage, having appearing in In Search of Cofa’s Tree in 1990 and Diamonds in the Dust in 1992, both for the Belgrade Community & Education Company.
Janthi Mills, General Manager at the Belgrade said, “The Belgrade is proud to have a long standing reputation of developing the future stars of stage and screen. Hollywood star Clive Owen started his career as a member of the Youth Theatre and we recently welcomed back local actress Jenny May Darcy, who graduated from our Acting Out programme and went on to study acting in London. Working with such a respected director and a company of professional actors is a fantastic opportunity for the Community & Education participants involved and it is great that they have been selected from across the wide range of groups the Belgrade works with.”
In Sons Without Fathers all but one of them will have speaking parts and they will be on stage during every performance playing the role of staff members working at a party. They will be acting alongside a company of professional actors including Jack Laskey, who has performed in numerous productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company including The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes, The Merchant of Venice and The Taming of The Shrew and Marianne Oldham, who played Yelena in the Belgrade’s production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.
Sons Without Fathers is a brand new adaptation of Chekhov’s first full length play, Platonov. It follows the story of village school teacher Mikhail Platonov, a man who is loved by women. Despite his best intentions he is drawn into a series of extra-marital affairs that all hold the promise of escape from the provincial Russian reality where he and his circle of friends are trapped.
Showing us a side to Chekhov that is funnier, more brutal and more wildly passionate than the writer we know, the production shines a light on this band of disaffected thirty-somethings – too old to move with the times, and too young to let go of their dreams. Consumed by bitterness and disappointment, they attempt to fill the void in their lives with sex and vodka, blaming their fathers for the mess they’ve been left in.