Chekhov To Feature In New Theatre Company’s First Performance

Posted by on May 02, 2011 | Leave a Comment

Stephen Papps and Elena Stejko

Stephen Papps and Elena Stejko

Outbox Theatre Company opens its very first play, Anton Chekhov’s “The Bear” on Wednesday, May 11.

A total of 16 performances will be staged at The Victoria Picture Palace and Theatre, Devonport, through to May 22.

“The Bear” is one of Anton Chekhov’s shorter plays, a 40 minute one act farce.

Written and first performed in 1888, “The Bear” has been described as a commentary on the gradual emancipation of women which was beginning to concern Russian society at the time; men in particular.

The play opens with a recently widowed woman having to deal with a male caller demanding repayment of money owed by her late husband. The subsequent dialogue unfolds from hostile argument to an agreed duel to the death and a surprising but happy outcome.

“The Bear’s” lead roles feature Elena Stejko and Stephen Papps, both of whom also play together in a feature film soon to be released in New Zealand, “The Russian Snark.”

Ms Stejko is Russian born and has lived in New Zealand for 16 years after studying acting at the University of Culture in Kiev, for four years. She owns and manages The Actors’ Studio in Auckland and also serves as artistic director for Outbox Theatre Company. She was nominated for a Qantas Film and Television award in 2010.

Stephen Papps is one of New Zealand’s most in – demand actors. He was recently seen on an ANZAC Day screening of a docu-drama based on the role of New Zealander, Sir Keith Park who is credited with masterminding the defence of England in the Battle of Britain. He also received a Qantas Film and Television nomination last year.

Following opening night, “The Bear” is scheduled for 8pm performances from Tuesday to Sunday until May 22, with additional 9.30 pm performances on both days of the weekend.

Danielle Butler, Outbox Theatre’s Business Manager, said further performances of the play may be given to schools later in the year. “One of the major goals of Outbox is to create more lovers of theatre and this Chekhov work is very useful for artistic studies as well as good entertainment,” she said.

Tickets are available for purchase online at

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