Suneeda Maruthiyil

Ward No.6

Written by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Matthew Parker

Stuck in a thankless job in a small town, Dr Ragin finds himself in the company of a young inmate in the asylum known as Ward No. 6. Their conversations lead him to reject the definitions of madness and sanity he has taken for granted, and to question his role in keeping the patients locked up. Betrayed by his friend, he ends up imprisoned himself – trapped in an ‘enchanted circle’ formed by his former patients’ rituals and superstitions.

The setting was of a neglected, claustrophobic annexe of a Russian hospital.  The wire on the windows, cold breeze blocks and a stone floor were further suggestions of despair and hopelessness.


The production is also excellent, with the costumes, makeup and set design capturing the desolation of the setting.

 Rebecca Paton, Remotegoat

 A feeling of growing pressure, of the calm before a
storm, is present from the moment that the audience takes its seats. The play opens on a still, dimly lit set. In each corner of the stage is a wooden bench upon which someone sleeps, fidgeting, under a sheet. Inset in the walls are jumbles of books, some open, made unreachable by the chicken wire that covers them. Paranoid and fanatical ramblings are scrawled across every surface.

Tom Wicker, EXUENT


….white face paint, minimal grey set and costumes, matching Jesus beards for the men. Evoking the gulags and the Maze, this is both the visual language of the dispossessed and the stuff of fringe…..

 Chris Waywell, TimeOut

It’s an intense, claustrophobic affair from the off, and the intimate setting of Camden People’s Theatre accentuates the cramped, suffocating atmosphere of the psychiatric ward perfectly. The audience face each other on both sides of the sparsely staged space, and it almost feels like we’re closing ranks on the patients themselves.

Lauren Romano, Spoonfed


other links:  main pageset design / costume design / props / scenic art

Photographs by James Oaten

Costume Period: late 19th century Russia.  The basic costume of the asylum inmates were grey to contrast the bright fantastical colours of the other characters they embodied during the reenactment of Dr Ragins’ journey – his downfall from Doctor to inmate.



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