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items tagged with Lee Blessing

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...


Glasnost Half Full: "A Walk in the Woods," at the Village Theatre through March 17
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2013-03-11 12:00:00

Matt Moody and John VanDeWoestyne in A Walk in the WoodsPlaywright Lee Blessing’s A Walk in the Woods successfully re-creates a sense of the Reagan-era Cold War conflict between the United States and the then-Soviet Union ... at least according to an older friend of mine who also attended Friday’s performance of New Ground Theatre’s production. However, my theatre-going companion also agreed with me that the play is reminiscent of the film My Dinner with Andre, famed for simply being a conversation between two people in one setting. And Blessing’s story is just that – a series of discussions between a U.S. and Russian diplomat sitting, or sometimes standing near, a park bench. For two hours.


Read More About Glasnost Half Full: "A Walk In The Woods," At The Village Theatre Through March 17...


Talking Outside the 'box: Kim Furness Discusses the Curtainbox's 10-Year History
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2011-04-05 16:35:31

Kimberly Furness[Author's note: The following was written for TheCurtainbox.com, the Web site for our area's Curtainbox Theatre Company, of which I've been a proud member for nearly a year.]

 

Recently, Curtainbox Theatre Company founder Kim Furness and I sat down over a glass of wine – all right, maybe a couple of glasses – to celebrate her company's 10-year anniversary. She had recently taken over the directing position for the Curtainbox's latest production, Speed-the-Plow (in the wake of original helmer Philip W. McKinley’s recruitment as new director of Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), and during our conversation, was happy to share her thoughts on the company’s history. (The David Mamet comedy Speed-the-Plow – featuring Erin Churchill, Dan Hernandez, and myself – runs at the Village of East Davenport’s Village Theatre from April 10 through 23, with preview performances April 8 & 9.)


Read More About Talking Outside The 'box: Kim Furness Discusses The Curtainbox's 10-Year History...


Home Is Where the Hard Is: "Independence," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through February 20
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2011-02-14 12:00:00

Nancy Teerlinck and Dana Skiles in IndependenceDirector Emmalee Moffitt’s Richmond Hill Barn Theatre production of Independence may be the first work I’ve seen in which the pacing is a problem because it’s too fast. It struck me, while watching Thursday night’s performance, that a lot of tension was lost due to the lack of awkward silences during verbal spats; Moffitt doesn’t allow several scenes to breathe, particularly whenever the play’s matriarch and her eldest daughter argue, and so they wind up playing like ordinary family squabbles, rather than the uncomfortable, dysfunctional altercations playwright Lee Blessing intended.


Read More About Home Is Where The Hard Is: "Independence," At The Richmond Hill Barn Theatre Through February 20...


Maintaining It: An Interview with Kyle Bornheimer
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2010-04-26 12:00:00

Kyle Bornheimer(The following is Mike Schulz's interview with Curtainbox Theatre Company co-founder Kyle Bornheimer, written for the area organization's Web site TheCurtainbox.com.)

 

At the end of my recent interview with Kyle Bornheimer - the Curtainbox Theatre Company co-founder who stars on the new ABC sitcom Romantically Challenged - I asked the actor if he was hoping, one day, to trek from California to the Midwest in order to see one of the organization's stage productions.

"Oh, definitely," he said. "I'm so impressed with what Kim [Furness] has done with the company. We would sit in her living room and all dream about taking this thing to the next level, and she's done that, so I definitely want to make it out there."

In the meantime, of course, Bornheimer has kept himself more than busy out there.
Read More About Maintaining It: An Interview With Kyle Bornheimer...





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