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items tagged with Anton Chekhov

Say "Uncle"! : Tony Nominee Lee Blessing Debuts His New Comedy at New Ground Theatre, April 29 through May 8
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2016-04-21 12:00:00

Jordan Smith, Bill Peiffer, Jake Walker and Maggie Woolley in UncleAt the very end of Anton Chekhov’s 1897 tragicomedy Uncle Vanya, two of the play’s principal characters – Vanya and his niece Sonya – sit quietly at a table at their Russian estate, each lamenting the departure of their recent house guests. They’ve endured all manner of emotional hardships over the stage hours prior, and as they prepare to face more in the lonely years ahead, Sonya delivers one of theatre’s most famous closing monologues, climaxing her speech by telling Vanya not to fear – God will show pity on them. “We shall rest,” she says, gently, just before the curtain falls. “We shall rest.”

Hopefully, for Vanya and Sonya, 119 years constitutes a long-enough rest. Because thanks to a playwright’s imagination and a rather inconvenient (and fictitious) wormhole, Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya characters are continuing their sagas in author Lee Blessing’s debuting comedy Uncle, a world-premiere production by Davenport’s New Ground Theatre running at the Village Theatre from April 29 through May 8.

“Sometimes you just don’t know where things come from,” says Blessing, with a laugh, regarding his sci-fi-comedy continuation of Chekhov’s masterpiece. “I’d seen a modern update of Vanya not that long ago in Los Angeles, and around the same time I said to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting to write a play about a guy who suddenly has a cosmic wormhole open up in his backyard, but doesn’t want it? Doesn’t want the things that come out of it?’ And so, for some odd reason, I put those things together."
Read More About Say "Uncle"! : Tony Nominee Lee Blessing Debuts His New Comedy At New Ground Theatre, April 29 Through May 8...


Step-Daddy Issues: "Daddy’s Home," "Point Break," and "Youth"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-01-03 01:30:41

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in Daddy's HomeDADDY’S HOME

I wasn’t terribly happy to sit through Daddy’s Home, given that director Sean Anders’ slapstick starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as über-competitive caretakers is a major comedown from the duo’s inspired pairing in 2010’s The Other Guys. But I was, at least, happy to have seen the movie during a well-populated screening with loads of grade-schoolers in attendance, as their frequent cackling clarified that the film was a family comedy, and therefore not designed to be as funny as, you know, a real comedy. I guess I was confused by the many jokes about Ferrell having to produce a sperm sample, and Bobby Cannavale manhandling Wahlberg’s prodigious package, and Ferrell’s stepdaughter (who appears to be about six) castigating him for “crying like a little bitch.” But what do I know? Bring the kids!
Read More About Step-Daddy Issues: "Daddy’S Home," "Point Break," And "Youth"...


Forgotten, but Not Gone: "Still Alice" and "The Last Five Years"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-02-23 15:23:00

Kristen Stewart and Julianne Moore in Still AliceSTILL ALICE

In Still Alice, newly minted Oscar winner Julianne Moore plays Alice Howland, a 50-year-old recently diagnosed with a hereditary form of Alzheimer’s. At one point in the movie, after a series of not-bad days and pretty-awful ones, Alice and her family attend an off-Broadway production of The Three Sisters starring the youngest Howland daughter, Lydia (Kristen Stewart). We see Lydia enact Chekhov’s dialogue with appropriate, impressive anxiety and fortitude, and our view of Alice in the audience suggests that she sees it, too. After the play ends, the family goes backstage to congratulate Lydia, and Alice, with carefully chosen words, praises her daughter for her complex rendering of Chekhovian heart and humanity. Lydia smiles and blushes; this might be the most interest her mother has ever shown in her acting career. Then Alice asks what play Lydia is doing next, and whether she’ll be sticking around New York much longer. And in the reaction shot that follows, the heartbreak in Lydia’s eyes verifies what we immediately suspect: Alice, at this moment, has no idea who Lydia is.


Read More About Forgotten, But Not Gone: "Still Alice" And "The Last Five Years"...


Chek Mates: "Anton in Show Business," at the Village Theatre through June 3
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2012-05-29 12:10:29

Cari Downing, Lauren Vickers, and Jackie Madunic in Anton in Show BusinessThank the theatre gods for Denise Yoder, as her presence livens up New Ground Theatre’s production of Anton in Show Business every moment she's on stage. Portraying a handful of characters, Yoder really gets to showcase her range; whether she's playing a somewhat ditzy stage manager, or a race-conscious black woman directing a play-within-a-play, or a self-assured, bad-joke-telling, male underwriter, Yoder’s sense of pace and comic timing are flawless. (Her director is a particular hoot, and her aggressively annoyed attitude as the stage manager T-Anne – who grows more and more impatient throughout the piece – is hysterical from beginning to end.)


Read More About Chek Mates: "Anton In Show Business," At The Village Theatre Through June 3...


Curtain Call: Mike Schulz and Thom White Discuss Area Theatre in 2010
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2010-12-20 12:00:00

Joseph Obleton, Fred Harris, Jr., Renaud Haymon, Reggie Jarrell, and Shanna Cramer in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's FencesAs we’ve come to annually expect, there was practically no end to the highlights from this past year in area theatre.


Read More About Curtain Call: Mike Schulz And Thom White Discuss Area Theatre In 2010...





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