The Naked Joke
A hilarious and moving re-imagining of Chekhov’s Three Sisters.
A large, old house in the Lake District.
Three out-of-fashion gay performers have gone to an artistic commune in Cumbria to lick their wounds after failing to come up with a follow up to their Off-Broadway hit ‘Naked Men Telling Jokes’.
There they meet a bunch of weary BBC actors on location work.
The motivations Chekhov’s characters have for theorising, yearning for the unattainable and ignoring each other, find precise parallels for gay under-employed actors with addiction issues or new age bents and spiritual yearnings; men who love their profession and the idea of success more than each other, and who pontificate about their impact on the future, while remaining childless.
The play seems to be particularly current through some of the characters’ sense of imminent global meltdown, and the alternative ways to avert the situation, ranging from organic farming to high-speed spiritual evolution.
By bringing Chekhov’s play into the twenty-first century, the comedic aspect shines brightly.