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Playhouse to present 'Uncle Vanya'

February 7, 2014

Stephens College is presenting a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s "Uncle Vanya," and according to the show’s director theatre-goers are in for a ride.

“Audiences can expect to laugh and cry and see much of their own behavior reflected in the delicate, amusing and touching world of Uncle Vanya,” Director Lamby Hedge said. The “emotional roller-coaster ride includes a climax involving a pistol and a bouquet of ‘sad, fall autumn roses,’ as rowdy and farcical as a Marx Brothers movie and as heartbreaking as one can imagine.”

A period piece set in 1899, Uncle Vanya centers on a pompous professor, Serebryakov (played by guest artist Michael Rapport) who is residing at his country estate with his much-younger wife, Yelena (played by Annie Malin ’14). A daughter from his previous marriage, Sonya (played by Mariah Larkin ’14) and his brother-in-law Vanya (played by theatre professor Rob Doyen) oversee the estate. When a dashing yet alcoholic doctor named Astrov (played by Ty Carter, a second-year conservatory student) comes for a visit, absurd competitions, disastrous flirtations and unbearable heartache soon follow.

“Considered a masterpiece of early realism, Chekhov draws a portrait of lives perilously teetering between tragedy and comedy: tragedy because at the end, so many dreams remain deferred, and comedy because it becomes abundantly clear that each ridiculous character is entirely to blame for his or her own maddening inability to seize personal happiness,” Hedge said.

This version of the classic by Andrew Upton was initially produced by the Sydney Theatre Company in Australia and recently produced in New York City as part of the Lincoln Center Festival (and starred Upton’s wife and award-winning actress Cate Blanchett).

“It garnered universal, rave reviews,” Hedge said, noting that she had been looking for a fresh translation of the classic.

“The production provides our student company an opportunity to explore rich and complicated characters who are infused with funny, sad, infuriating and endearing qualities,” she said. “These are beautifully honest character studies, which will seem very fresh and modern to a contemporary audience."

Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14-15, 21-22 and a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Feb. 16 at Macklanburg Playhouse. Ticket information.

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