Gregory Stephanovitch Smirvnov

Brian Friel, influenced by Anton Chekhov

Robin Lefèvre

The Gate, Dublin; Spoleto Arts Festival, Dock Street Theatre

Additional Cast:
Elisabeth Dermot Walsh, Eamon Morrissey

Completed Play

The story takes place in the home of an affluent Russian widow, Elena Popova, who has been mourning the death of her promiscuous husband for a year.  Her aged servant Luka urges her to give up her secluded life, but Elena insists that she will remain faithful to her husband even if he never did to her.

Then her home is invaded by a boorish creditor, the misogynist lieutenant Gregory Smirvnov, who demands that Elena pay him money her husband owed him or he will go bankrupt – and will not leave until she does so. Sparks fly between them leading, inevitably, to farcical, satiric romance.


  • The Gate premiered 'The Bear' and 'Afterplay', entitled "Two Plays After", in Dublin before transferring to the Spoleto Festival, South Carolina.

  • This production served as the American premiere of the play

"Hurt's fine acting makes 'Afterplay' a must-see"

By Dottie Ashley/ The Post and Courier

Brendan Coyle is fantastically endearing Gregory...

"A Fusion Spirit at This Year's Spoleto"

By Bruce Weber/ The New York Times

Gregory Stepanovitch Smirnov (Brendan Coyle), comes calling on a desperate errand to collect a debt owed him by her husband. He is a womanizer, a drinker and a bully, and his presumptuousness (which Mr. Coyle portrays with a contemporary swagger) ignites a hilarious enmity in Elena...

The Bear (2002)