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Archive for Anton Chekhov

UNCLE VANYA at Pasadena Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan – ArtsBeat LA

As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Technology zooms forward, but human nature remains stubbornly persistent. Thus a play such as Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, which premiered in 1899, can still speak to us today, can still cause us to laugh or cry at its characters’ folly or heartbreak. The new production of Vanya at the Pasadena Playhouse, featuring a powerhouse lead performance from Hugo Armstrong, is a clear and entertaining demonstration that humanity is the same regardless of the century it’s in. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw, Notes From Arden

Hugo Armstrong Transforms Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. Having been largely weaned on the plays of Anton Chekhov, and his turn of the 20th century mingling of regret and humor while something, always something, is ending (Chekhov wrote as the Russian Revolution was brewing), I admit to a trepidation in seeing productions of plays by the Russian literary giant, because they so rarely rise to their complex occasion. They’re usually suffocated by affectation of some kind – such as an obsequious devotion to kitchen sink realism, and samovars and wicker furniture, or, in American or British hands, an effort to invent what it means to be Russian in 1899; that rarely turns out well. Read more…

Now through June 26

THE SEAGULL at the Pico House


Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

Downtown Rep company has selected an historic building in which to stage Anton Chekhov’s 1895 bourgeois family drama, his first major play. The central courtyard of Pico House serves admirably for the company’s semi-modern production set in Hollywood, as well as providing a sheltered and cozy outdoor theater experience for audience members. The large yet still intimate space is nicely illuminated and festooned with strings of pea-lights. Read more…

Now running through August 30.

THE CHERRY ORCHARD at Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble


Photo by Vitor Martins

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

There have always been political takes of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. Some have described it as a condemnation of the idle aristocracy, a precursor to the Russian Revolution. Others saw it as a kind farewell to a vanishing class that is being supplanted by rapacious businessmen who only find beauty in money. The play isn’t quite so simple, because Chekhov wasn’t just interested in a message, of course, as much as he was intrigued by the complexities of people. Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

The Cherry Orchard has been eluding directors for more than a century. Noting surface hints, the work’s proximity to the Czar’s fall (albeit 13 years later), and knowing that this was Chekhov’s final, dying gift to the stage, productions have persisted in seeing it as nostalgic and elegiac in character. Read more…

Now running through November 2.

STUPID F—ING BIRD The Theater@at Boston Court


Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

People are always doing things to Chekhov. At least since the 1950s, when Joshua Logan reset The Cherry Orchard to the post-Civil War American South in a short-lived adaptation called The Wisteria Trees, the Russian playwright has been adapted, spoofed, satirized, de-constructed, re-conceived, re-thought, re-written and plagiarized. Chekhov Derivatives and Recycling has become a growth industry. Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird is part of that movement, but it’s more interesting than most because, despite its departures from the original text, it remains, for most of its length, true in spirit to Chekhov. Read more…

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

The third Chekhov takeoff this year in Los Angeles (could I have missed any?), after The Country House and Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Stupid F—ing Bird may be the most self-consciously post-modern of the trio, with its resolutely present-day argot, deliberate ironic posturing and winking asides to the audience. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

In Anton Chekhov’s play The Seagull, about the theater and its ambiguous relationship to life, neurotic young playwright Konstantin Treplev speaks about the calcification of theater and of the necessity to create “new forms.” As Treplev ages, he evolves and devolves into a long-suffering, modestly successful author of quasi-inventive plays that might pretend to have new forms but actually don’t. Read more…

Now running through July 27.