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Julie Tomlin’s theatre news: Harry Meacher tries his hand at Chekhov

19 May, 2017 — By Julie Tomlin

AFTER searching in vain for a third one-act play by Anton Chekhov that would sit alongside The Proposal and The Bear, actor and director Harry Meacher decided to write one of his own.

The result is The Ghost, which he performed along with the other two at Upstairs at the Gatehouse theatre between May 23 and 28. Meacher is directing all three plays, and his wife the stage and TV actor Judi Bowker performs in both the The Bear and The Ghost.

“I just sat down and thought this is what’s needed – a 15-minute short piece and this is what came out, and all that I’d known about Chekhov came into that,” he says.

“I’d wanted to spare Judi doing another one, but I couldn’t escape the fact that I’d written it for her.”

Highgate Village residents Meacher and Bowker have supported the theatre since it opened and the setting may be more fitting than larger theatres that bring in big name actors, says Meacher. “Chekhov didn’t write about ugly winners, he wrote about beautiful losers,” he says.

“Judi did The Cherry Orchard at the National and I realised that what was wrong with it is that they had all huge starring names. It’s not that they weren’t good, but they blocked something of Chekhov. It’s very difficult if people are reeking with material success, these people weren’t and not only that, there was this cloud coming, which Chekhov thought was going to be wonderful, though he was wrong, the Russian Revolution.”

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