Weston's 78th Season Concludes with UNCLE VANYA, Beginning This Weekend
Best-known for his roles in The Amazing Spider-Man, Royal Pains and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Campbell Scott takes to the Weston Playhouse stage for Anton Chekhov's wistful comedy, Uncle Vanya. Scott is playing the role of Astrov, the forlorn visionary philosopher in this timeless play in which tempers flare and passions are ignited when an aging professor returns with his beautiful young wife to his family's country estate. In an interesting spin, the Weston production is set in contemporary Vermont. This last show of the season is sponsored by the Vermont Country Store and has a limited engagement, today, August 28 - September 6.
"In Weston's 78-year history, we have never tackled Chekhov," offered Producing Artistic Director Steve Stettler. "To really do it well takes the right adaptation, the right director, and a stellar cast. We've assembled all the right pieces. I'm confident we'll be wrapping up our 2014 season with much pride in this show."
The Weston production utilizes a new translation/adaptation by the recent Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker. Baker, who Weston audiences might remember from the 2011 production of her play The Aliens, says Uncle Vanya is her very favorite play. In adapting it she said her goal "was to create a version that sounds to our contemporary American ears the way the play sounded to Russian ears during the play's first production in the provinces in 1898."
Chosen to direct the production is a graduate of the prestigious Yale School of Drama, Mike Donahue, who says of the play, "It's about sacrifice, longing, and breaking patterns. But in all of this, it's a play that is drawn with such nuance and humor - I think there are immense opportunities to create a wholly human, visceral experience for an audience." Of this production, he says, "the design will be evocative and raw with a focus on the text, the actors and their relationship to the space/the audience... We want the actors and audience alike to feel as if they are breathing the same air, suspended on the same breath." Donahue is a Fullbright Artist who has been directing new plays, musicals and operas in New York and at many top regional theatres.
Collaborating with Donahue as Costume Designer is fellow Yale alum Anya Klepikov who is originally from Russia and who has been deeply studying the Vermont landscape and its people in order to create clothing that naturally reflects each character's unique nature in a timeless fashion.
Joining Campbell Scott on stage is his wife Kathleen McElfresh as the lovely Yelena and Liam Craig as Vanya. McElfresh and Craig are returning to the Weston stage where they delighted audiences in Weston's 2010 farce The 39 Steps. Rounding out the stellar cast are Christopher Donahue, Munson Hicks, Barbara Lloyd (all three of whom were in last year's To Kill a Mockingbird,) Cass Morgan (Saint Ex,) Jeanine Serralles and Clark Glennon.
Performances of Uncle Vanya will be at the Weston Playhouse, on the Village Green (12 Park Street) in Weston. Show times are Tuesdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2pm, and Sundays at 3pm. The show runs 2 1/2 hours with one intermission. Pre-show dinner is available at the theatre's own restaurant, the Café at the Falls. Tickets to Uncle Vanya run $39-$52. Discounts include VTix (25 seats at $25 for Vermonters) and student pricing (half-price.) Tickets can be purchased by calling 802-824-5288 or online at westonplayhouse.org.
The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is an award-winning nonprofit theatre nationally known for its multi-stage summer season, education and new works programs. A $10 million capital campaign is currently underway, with plans to build a year-round cultural center for Southern Vermont - a theatre arts incubator with retreats, workshops and a new studio theatre at Weston's Walker Farm.
Photo by Tim Fort