Trinity Rep Opens 2014-15 Season with New Translation of IVANOV Tonight
Trinity Repertory Company kicks off Season 51: The Necessity of Human Connection with a world premiere translation by Artistic Director Curt Columbus of Anton Chekhov's Ivanov, directed by Brian McEleney (The Grapes of Wrath). Ivanov plays today, September 4 through October 5 in Trinity Rep's Dowling Theater. Subscriptions are now on sale at www.trinityrep.com, by calling (401) 351-4242 or at the theater's box office at 201 Washington St., Downtown Providence.
In Ivanov, Nikolai Ivanov epitomizes a man failing to connect. He loves his wife, but they are estranged from her family because she converted from Judaism. When she becomes ill, he's not able to give her the care she needs. All of his neighbors are talking about him behind his back, and on top of it all, his friend's daughter has a crush on him. He's managing this in his bemused though melancholic way, when his wife catches him in the arms of the young Sasha, and Ivanov's world really turns upside down. This early work by Anton Chekhov captures the humor, tragedy and humanity now considered hallmarks of the playwright.
"This is something the acting company and I have been working on for a couple of years," reflects Curt Columbus. "When we read it aloud, it was just this crazy, wild ride through the Russian countryside, and it's a perfect play for our acting company."
"The thing that I keep coming back to when I think about Ivanov is if you translate the name literally into English, it's John Seymour. He's just writing about a guy, he's not writing about a king, or a murderer, or some duchess," reflects Brian McEleney, "He's just writing about a normal guy, who's a doctor. Chekhov saw people constantly, and he would observe them and all their strange, neurotic, contradictory behavior, and he said, that is what drama should be about."
Ivanov features a diverse cross section of Trinity Rep's acting company, including Stephen Berenson, Angela Brazil, Timothy Crowe, Rebecca Gibel, Barbara Meek, Anne Scurria, Fred Sullivan, Jr., Stephen Thorne and Joe Wilson, Jr. with Richard Williams and Brown/Trinity Rep MFA actors Ian McNeely, Sophie Netanel, Andrew Polec, Marina Shay and Max Wolkowitz.
Ivanov reunites McEleney with set designer Michael McGarty, the duo behind last season's wildly successful production of The Grapes of Wrath, which treated the audience to a truly immersive experience. The Ivanov set promises to be equally enthralling, inviting audiences to sit in the playing area surrounding the actors and into a quintessential Russian countryside living room for an intimate look at this cast of characters. The production also features original music, composed by Ian McNeely and performed live every night by members of the cast. The other members of the design team include Peter Sasha Hurowitz (sound design), John Ambrosone (lighting design), Toni Spadafora Sadler (costume design), Michael Dates (wig design) and Thom O. Jones (voice and speech direction).
As a Trinity Rep Associate Director, Brian McEleney's productions include The Grapes of Wrath, House & Garden, The Crucible, Twelfth Night, Absurd Person Singular, The Dreams of Antigone, A Raisin in the Sun, All the King's Men, Our Town, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Master Class, Proof, Sparrowgrass, Mrs. Warren's Profession, A Christmas Carol, Stones in His Pockets and Dinner With Friends. As a resident acting company member, he has appeared in over 60 plays, including King Lear, Richard II, Richard III, The Completely Fictional - Utterly True - Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe, The Odd Couple, Twelfth Night, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Cider House Rules, Angels in America, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Cherry Orchard, Amadeus. He is also Head of Brown/Trinity Rep's MFA Acting Program.
Playwright Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in 1860 near the Crimean Sea in Taganrog, Russia. In 1887, he wrote his first full-length play, Ivanov, which met with much success. His four subsequent plays, for which he is best known, combine the elements of tragedy and dark comedy: The Seagull in 1896, Uncle Vanya in 1896, Three Sisters in 1901, and The Cherry Orchard in 1904. He enjoyed a rich collaboration with the Moscow Art Theater, and in 1901 he married Olga Knipper, an actress who appeared in each of the four major plays. The Cherry Orchard premiered on Chekhov's birthday in Moscow in 1904. Chekhov died six months later of tuberculosis, which had plagued him for most of his adult life.
Talkbacks with Trinity Rep Talkback leaders and a member of the cast will be held after every performance of Ivanov. Audiences are invited to share their response to the production and themes for approximately twenty minutes following the performance
Continuing Trinity Rep's tradition of offering affordable tickets for all, the theater will have discounted previews of Ivanov from September 4 - 6, 2014. Friday September 5th is a Pay What You Can (PWYC) performance with tickets on sale at 6:30pm that evening, limit one per person.
Trinity Rep's 2014-2015 season is sponsored by NBC 10, with supporting sponsors Cox Media, Ocean State Job Lot, Rhode Island Monthly, RISCA and the theater's official airline, Southwest Airlines.