Cutting Ball Theater Presents UNCLE VANYA
Cutting Ball Theater kicks off its 2018/2019 Season, celebrating 20 years since the company's founding and first production, with a vivid reimagining of Anton Chekhov's enduring classic UNCLE VANYA in a translation by Paul Schmidt. Uncle Vanya is directed by Paige Rogers, Cutting Ball Theater's co-founder and recently exited Artistic Director, the culminating project of Rogers' tenure at Cutting Ball's creative helm. Uncle Vanya opens in preview performances on September 21 and runs through October 21. Press Opening is scheduled for September 27 at 7pm with an Opening performance to follow on September 28 at 8pm. Tickets range in price $15 - $45 and are available for purchase online at cuttingball.com/productions/uncle-vanya or by phone at 415-525-1205.
Ványa was once a brilliant intellectual but now, suddenly, he realizes that he's squandered twenty years managing his family's farm. Eschewing love and personal acclaim can take its toll on a psyche, so is it any surprise that he eventually cracks, especially with all these family members under one roof? Comic, caustic, and true to life, Uncle Vanya challenges us to find value in the things that we take for granted.
"Uncle Vanya has enticed me since 1993, when I taught a semester-long class on Chekhov at the New Haven High School for the Arts. What attracted me to the play back then was how true to life the interactions seemed: the good, the bad, the ugly - the many complicated and joyful facets of life that were so succinctly represented," said Rogers. "Twenty-five years later, I see this play as more than just a realistic representation of daily interactions. I see it as being about work, about how too much work - or the lack of it - can impact a person's mental health and self-esteem. Why do we work so much? How does it feel to have unfulfilling work? Why is work less important to some?"
Rogers co-founded Cutting Ball Theater in 1999 with husband and Founding Artistic Director Rob Melrose. Her directing credits at Cutting Ball include Antigone, workshopped at the Grotowski Institute in Poland; Tontlawald, an original play based on an Estonian fairy tale; Life Is a Dream with an actual father-son team playing king and prince; and María Irene Fornés' Mud. As an actor, she was most recently seen onstage at Cutting Ball in Eugenie Chan's Bone to Pick and Diadem. Favorite Cutting Ball acting credits include Mrs. Smith in The Bald Soprano (a role she will reprise in Cutting Ball's 20th Season), Ellie in The Vomit Talk of Ghosts, and Kate in Taming of the Shrew. Rogers served as Cutting Ball's Artistic Director for the last three seasons before handing the company's artistic leadership to Ariel Craft in July 2018.
Portraying the title role of Ványa is Pittsburgh-based actor George Saulnier. George was a long-time member of Boston's Rough and Tumble Theatre, collaborating across eleven productions. Other credits include Mason Marzac in Take Me Out, Krapp in Krapp's Last Tape by Samuel Beckett, and George in Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf? This Chekhovian collaboration between Rogers and Saulnier, who trained together at the Trinity Rep Conservatory, has been brewing for more than two decades.
Joining Saulnier onstage is Bay Area favorite Adam Magill* making his Cutting Ball Theater mainstage debut, and Doug Nolan who was seen in last season's Timon of Athens. Rounding out the cast of eight are Haley Bertelsen, Virginia M. Blanco, Merle Rabine, Miyoko Sakatani, and Nancy Sans, all newcomers to Cutting Ball's stage. *Adam Magill is appearing courtesy of the Actors' Equity Association
The production will feature scenic designs by Fred Kinney, returning to Cutting Ball after previously designing The Taming of the Shrew in 2007 and Endgame in 2008. Also returning is costume designer Alina Bokovikova, following last season's Timon of Athens and Hedda Gabler in 2017. This production also features lighting designs by New York-based designer Ted Boyce-Smith, sound designs by Jaren Feeley, and properties designs by Stephanie Dittbern.
For twenty years, Cutting Ball Theater has been championing the unusual and the evocative, reimagining how narratives can be told, and producing plays for audiences with bold and curious tastes in San Francisco. Over the years, Cutting Ball has received recognition and honors from numerous grant makers and media outlets including the San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Weekly, San Francisco Magazine, the Acker Awards, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the American Theatre Wing. Cutting Ball Theater was founded by Rob Melrose and Paige Rogers and is currently led by Artistic Director Ariel Craft and Managing and Producing Director Liz Olson. For more information about Cutting Ball Theater, visit cuttingball.com
Cutting Ball Theater's 2018/ 2019 Season is made possible in part by the Bothin Foundation, Grants for the Arts / San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, The RHE Charitable Foundation, The San Francisco Arts Commission, SWEA, The Zellerbach Family Foundation, Embassy of Sweden, Dolby, Microsoft/Yammer, Wells Fargo Foundation, Zendesk, Zoosk, and season producers Robert Chlebowski, Ken Melrose, Velia Melrose, Erik Blachford and Maryam Mohit, Mark Rabine and Lydia Chavez, Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock, and Dave and Kate Yrueta.