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Comedy and chaos… Olga at the Theatre is a real tonic for our times

Posted: 31st January 2019

Comedy and chaos… Olga at the Theatre is a real tonic for our times

Europe: 1890. Titchfield Festival Theatre’s New Play Season continues with the first-ever performance of a brand new comedy written and directed by Johnny O’Hanlon: Olga at the Theatre.

The story is based on a new short play written by Anton. Olga arrives at a provincial theatre somewhere in Europe, yearning to be taken seriously as an actress; however, the small company of actors find it difficult to concentrate on the play when all around them passions, disagreements, egos and personalities collide explosively - hindering Olga's desire for fame and fortune. The actors want to perform in the ‘old ways’ but Anton and the director want the company to adopt the new style of Naturalism…to act ‘naturally’. This tricky situation is not helped by the elderly actress' affection to vodka….resulting in a first night of chaos – and comedy, with plenty unfolding both backstage and on stage.

‘Olga at the Theatre’ was inspired by one of the characters, Olga, in ‘The Nose’, a play also written by Johnny O’Hanlon and performed to acclaim at Titchfield last year.  Johnny explains what inspired him to write this brand new play.

“The image in my mind was the actress, Olga, auditioning for a theatre director who runs a small theatre company; we see the cast rehearsing a new play, arguing and sometimes agonising and occasionally improvising.  Olga is based on a character that I first featured in The Nose; an actress who has tried and failed in her career and when I discussed this with colleagues after we finished this play, they asked me: what happened to that actress when she toured the theatres across Europe?

“I couldn’t answer that question, but it gave me the idea for this play. The image in my mind was of an actress (Olga) talking to a director (Anton), with the play then showing the cast rehearsing, arguing, sometimes agonising and occasionally improvising. Scenes were often pretty chaotic – or perhaps you would say organised chaos!

“Europe in the late 19th century was a turbulent period, politically and militarily. However, despite this uncertainty theatres across the continent continued to produce new themes, new ideas and spectacular new effects. Indeed, many will say it was the start of modern drama and theatrical productions. Theatre provided a real tonic for our times then – and can do so today.”

If this was a play no one would deem it possible….or maybe they would? Discover for yourself what happened on that first night in this hugely entertaining and comedy première.    

Olga at the Theatre opens on Wednesday 6th February 2019 until Saturday 16th February at 7.30pm in the Oak Theatre, Titchfield Festival Theatre, St Margarets Lane, Titchfield PO14 4BG.

For more information, please go to http://titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com/or contact our Box Office on 01329 556156.