Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-04-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Uncle Vanya
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2017-03-01

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Anton Chekhov: Translation: Annie Baker. At: Goodman Theatre, Owen Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: 312-443-3800 or GoodmanTheatre.org; $20-$59. Runs through: March 19

Playwright Annie Baker famously tested the patience of audiences with her drawn-out Pulitzer Prize-winning drama The Flick. So it would make sense that Baker would also be keen to write a new translation of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya—a Russian "comedy" where arguably not much happens plot-wise, though most of the characters are certifiably disillusioned with dashed dreams by the end.

Baker's easily conversational 2012 adaptation of Uncle Vanya makes a strong and secure Chicago debut courtesy of the Goodman Theatre. This production marks the 30th-anniversary season of Robert Falls' tenure as the Goodman's artistic director, and it's an appropriate choice—even if the characters regretfully reflect on much of the wasted time in their lives throughout the course of the play.

Rather than keeping Vanya set in the time of its creation in the late 19th century, Falls has pushed up the action several decades ( as reflected by the occasional modern chair and antique radio in Todd Rosenthal's robustly decaying set design ). This may slightly jar when characters refer to offstage "peasants," though perhaps Falls wanted to emphasize that even under Communist rule that the lives of poor rural folks didn't drastically change all that much.

To bring the contained and jarringly explosive dramatic bursts of Uncle Vanya to life, Falls has assembled an appealing ensemble. Prominently cast are two Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members in the key roles of Vanya ( a highly strung Tim Hopper ) and his niece, Sonya ( a practical and heartbreaking Caroline Neff ).

Marton Csokas makes for a fascinatingly gruff Astrov, the alcoholic doctor who like so many in the play becomes obsessed with the beautifully unattainable Yelena ( a truly fascinating Kristen Bush ). She is unhappily married to the retired professor Alexander Serebryakov ( an appropriately abrasive and oblivious David Darlow ).

Mary Ann Thebus is a joy as the blunt-talking elderly nanny Marina, while Larry Neumann, Jr. makes for a sometimes unsettling presence as the neighboring impoverished landowner Telegin ( aka Waffles thanks to his exaggerated puffy skin-condition makeup ).

Although all the characters may long for drastic change, there is also a safety in their disappointing return to stasis and the way things have always been by the end. Falls' take on Baker's recent Vanya adaptation insightfully brings out the characters' hurt of missed chances and resignation that they won't be getting what they want. It's definitely not a happy end, but a realistic one that also feels rich after so many emotions churn and get tamped down just beneath the surface.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Strawdog Theatre announces 31st Season, "Bravery" 2018-04-22 - CHICAGO - Strawdog Theatre Company and Artistic Directors Michael Dailey, Heath Hays and Anderson Lawfer are proud to announce the company's 31st Season, ...


Gay News

"Striking Out: A Gay Baseball Musical" through June 16 2018-04-22 - CHICAGO - April 20th, 2018 Striking Out: A Gay Baseball Musical is two act musical about the first straight baseball player in a ...


Gay News

Late Nite Catechism celebrates 25 years in Chicago 2018-04-20 - A Chicago original and international hit, Late Nite Catechism turns 25 in the city where it all started. A special anniversary ...


Gay News

Season of Concern hosts 'Cabaret for Care' 2018-04-18 - Season of Concern's 2018 annual benefit titled Cabaret for Care came to the Goodman Theatre on April 9. The evening had donors enjoying ...


Gay News

DANCE PROFILE Getting to know Lucky Plush dancer Aaron-Raheim White 2018-04-18 - How does one go from being a quiet young boy with an unstable home to being a successful Reiki master-teacher and MFA in ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Our Great Tchaikovsky 2018-04-18 - Playwright/Performer: Hershey Felder; Music: Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky At: Steppenwolf Theatre Upstairs, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: 312-335-1650 or Steppenwolf.org; $55. Runs through: May ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW 33 to Nothing 2018-04-18 - Playwright/Composer: Grant James Varjas At: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. Tickets: 312-943-8722; ARedOrchidTheatre.org; $30-$35. Runs through: May 27 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Ghosts of War 2018-04-18 - Playwright: adapted by William Massolia, from the novel by Ryan Smithson. At: Griffin Theatre Company at The Den, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-04-18 - The Gentleman Caller, Raven Theatre, extended through May 27. You can see this play because it's so literary or because it's so gol-durn ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Lettie 2018-04-18 - Playwright: Boo Killebrew At: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: 773-871-3000; VictoryGardens.org; $15-$56. Runs through: May 6 Sometimes a ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.