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Archive for Uncle Vanya

Troubies, Tanner, and a Top Tenth list

Matt Walker and Rick Batalla. Photo by Douglas Leadwell.

Matt Walker and Rick Batalla. Photo by Douglas Leadwell.

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

Plus ‘Annie,’ ‘Clyde’s,’ ‘Invincible,’ Sheldon Epps’ memoir.

Tis the season for Troubadour Theater’s annual holiday hoot. As usual, it’s a refreshing antidote to too many competing “Christmas Carol”s.

This year Troubies director Matt Walker takes aim at the 1988 shoot-’em-up film “Die Hard.” Its setting — a corporate holiday party in a Century City high-rise — is the excuse for the timing in December. The Troubie title is “Die Heart,” because the show includes melodies and riffs, if not the precise lyrics, of some of the songs from the rock group Heart. Read more…

How did Angeles Stage mark its first birthday? Via UNCLE VANYA, DRIVE MY CAR

The cast of Uncle Vanya. Photo by Jeff Lorch

The cast of Uncle Vanya. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Plus a merry but muddled ‘Windsor’ at the Theatricum, ‘King James’ and two new musicals on opposite poles of the gender discussion.

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

Angeles Stage first appeared a year ago, as masked audiences were beginning to return to LA stages in person, after more than a year of mostly virtual-only activity. I urged “LA theater,” which meant audiences as well as creators, to “rise and shine.” A lot of productions arose within greater LA during the past year.

Pasadena Playhouse’s “Uncle Vanya” shines more brightly than any other currently-running production I’ve seen…If you don’t know Anton Chekhov’s “Vanya,” or the acclaimed Japanese film “Drive My Car” that was deeply inspired by “Vanya,” now is a great opportunity to combine them into a powerful one-two exploration of the all-too-human emotions that adults frequently face, at least during the last couple of centuries. Read more…

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

TIME TELLS by Steven Leigh Morris

Keith Mills, Anton Chekhov, and Seven Spots on the Sun


Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

Keith Mills was an actor. He was other things, too. He ran, or was part of, a soft-water company in the San Gabriel Valley. He was a husband, father and grandfather. But mainly, he was an actor, from Toronto. He lived for decades in Claremont – that’s about 40 miles east of downtown L.A., at the edge of the county, and he worked a bit in Los Angeles, on stage and in TV. Until he didn’t. That never stopped him from being an actor. Read more…

UNCLE VANYA at the Antaeus Company


Photo by Karianne Flaathen

Jenny Lower – LA Weekly

Boredom is contagious in Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, now receiving an energetic revival at the Antaeus Company. The locus of the ennui is Yelena (Linda Park), the gorgeous, restless young wife of Serebryakov (Lawrence Pressman), an elderly professor who has retired to his family’s provincial estate.    Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

As a child, I couldn’t understand why anybody would attend a production of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya”; surely not even the most pretentious adult would choose to watch gloomy Russians with interchangeable names hurt each other’s feelings and complain about having wasted their lives for as many as three hours at a stretch.

Read more…

Now running through December 6.

UNCLE VANYA – Chalk Repertory Theatre at the Neutra Institute Museum


Photo courtesy of Chalk Rep Theatre

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

On a stage — and as often as not, in everyday life, but certainly on a stage — when a character announces, “I’m dying of boredom,” there’s always something else, something deeper going on. With those four spoken words, a character can communicate almost anything: “I’m hot to do something exciting; what can you suggest?” or “You disgust me and I can’t wait until you’re out of my presence,” or even “I would love it if you’d undress me and pitch mad, passionate love. em>Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

Chalk Rep’s Uncle Vanya (a new version by Libby Appel, based on Allison Horsley’s original translation, and directed by Larissa Kokernot) recalls Louis Malle’s 1994 film Vanya on 42nd Street, in that it’s almost like a rehearsal of the play, dutifully rendered. Read more…

Now playing through March 15.