Upcoming as a part of the first-ever Minneapolis Chekhov Festival!
Written by Anton Chekhov
Translated by Paul Schmidt
Directed by Genevieve Bennett
On October 21st, 1895, Chekhov wrote to a friend about The Seagull: "The comedy has four female roles, seven male roles, four acts, a landscape (a view of a lake), much conversation about literature, little action and five tons of love." All this on the tiny stage of Bryant Lake Bowl. Featuring a stellar cast and design team, lead by up-and-coming director, Genevieve Bennett, this production takes a fresh and lively look at one of Chekhov's most beautiful and timely stories.
Saturday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m.
+ some student matinees upon request.
By John Townsend
Twin Cities Chekhov Festival
Through Mar. 1
Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., Mpls.
Gay Latino actor Jade Esteban Estrada, praised by both Out Magazine and The Advocate, returns to Minnesota with Chek It, Baby for the Twin Cities Chekhov Fest at the BLB. He shares that “most actors in New York learn about the playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) while they are learning about Constantin Stanislavski and the acting technique (he formed) used today by most actors. So for me Chekhov is a very intimate part of my beginnings as an actor. I feel like my life started when I moved to New York to become a performer. So the works of Chekhov were woven into my love for acting. When I was asked to be a part of this event it really meant a lot to me. All self-penned shows are personal, but this seems to me really personal.”
Festival curator Genevieve Bennett says that the Russian “was dealing with replacing the broad stereotypes that populated theater at the dawn of the Modern era, with real people—complex characters with complex psyches—and gender is a part of that. What I think is interesting about the festival is the way in which the artists have chosen to interpret this material - pulling different aspects of the work forward in order to explore it with regards to their own interests and aesthetics.”
Bennett herself has directed what is an utterly definitive production of Chekhov’s masterpiece, The Seagull for the festival. Though every single performance in it is smashing, it’s especially thrilling to see three very talented young actors come into their own with this: Sasha Andreev, Jaime Kleiman, and Sara Richardson. Andreev is nothing short of devastating.
Ryan Hill, gives a hypnotic performance in The Island, an artful take on Chekhov’s account of a prison colony. He is served by a magical score, performed and created by Tim Donahue, and lovely stylized physical movement from Nicole Devereaux and Lisa Moreira.
On a bill with The Island, Hardcover Theater contrasts with broad humor and sharp insight, in the stage adaptation of the short story, The Witch. A hilarious view of being sexually frustrated and snowbound. Director Ryan Ripley nails Chekhov style perfectly: boldly humorous, yet mournfully aware of the sadness of the human condition, especially in rural Russia.
Veteran Stephen Houtz, who gives a marvelously earthy performance in The Seagull, is also a talented composer. He has collaborated with lauded baritone Mark Bauer to render what the buzz out there tells us is well worth catching: A Written Life: Letters of Anton Chekhov. It’s part of a rich menu of other Chekhovian shows that this reviewer just doesn’t’ have time to catch!
“Breathing New Life into Chekhov”
The 1st Twin Cities Chekhov Festival
October 15th, 2007
Minneapolis, MN: A star-studded lineup of the Twin Cities top performing artists will breathe new life into the legendary works of Anton Chekhov at Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. Genevieve Bennett, local director, will produce the festival, which runs Feb. 7-Mar. 1, 2008. Inspired interpretations, inventive adaptations and original multi-disciplinary performances at Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis.
THE PRODUCER: Bennett, a local director and theatre educator,
graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in Directing and holds a BFA with Honors in Theatre from New York University/Tisch School of the Arts. Last February, Bennett co-produced (with Markell Kiefer of Tiger Lion Works) an evening of Chekhov’s short comedies at Bryant Lake Bowl. The intimate cabaret-style theatre was filled to standing room, and buzzed with an energy that made the plays immediate, relevant and accessible.
THE FESTIVAL: The Twin Cities Chekhov Festival expands on this idea, staging Chekhov in a dynamic, community environment where you can enjoy Ministry of Cultural Warfare’s mash-up of Uncle Vanya and The Golden Girls while you down a shot of vodka, or hear Chekhov’s letters set to music by composer Stephen Houtz.
THE ARTISTS: The line-up also includes Nautilus Music-Theater’s production of Dominick Argento’s opera A Water Bird Talk, based on Chekhov’s On the Harmfulness of Tobacco, and Skewed Vision’s original installation, Islands of Chekhov. Emerging playwright Eric Hockett joins forces with Guthrie veterans Stephen D’Ambrose, Maggie Chestovich and Chris Carlson in an adaptation of Chekhov’s A Boring Story. Meanwhile, Randy Reyes of Mu Performing Arts asks what happens if you replace a samovar with a rice cooker. Other participants include Hardcover Theatre, Zealots and Mystics, the pants, Charles Lupia, Markell Keifer, comedian Jade Esteban Estrada, William Missouri Down, Ryan Hill and Bennett’s production of The Seagull. Students from Perpich Arts High School and St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists present an afternoon of Chekhov shorts, and Dylan Fresco hosts Slavic Love!, an evening of romantic Russian music and poetry. (See 3rd page for a complete list of artists and their shows.) The Twin Cities Chekhov Festival is made possible, in part, by funds provided by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council through an appropriation by the Minnesota legislature.
The 1st Twin Cities Chekhov Festival
WHEN: Feb. 7-March 1, 2008
7pm on Wednesday (Feb. 27th only)
7pm & 10pm on Thursdays
7pm & 10pm on Fridays
3pm, 7pm & 10pm on Saturdays
3pm, 6pm & 9pm on Sundays
Bryant Lake Bowl
810 W. Lake St., Mpls.
BLB Box Office: 612.825.8949
Press: 612.770. 5349
Adults: $10-$15 sliding scale
Festival Pass: 10 shows for $80
Five Show Pass: 5 shows for $42
TWIN CITIES CHEKHOV FESTIVAL SHOWS:
Thank you for visiting!
Fletcher and Zenobia Save the Circus
The Art of Seduction
The Nosdrahcir Sisters
You're My Favorite Kind of Pretty
An Eminently Practical and Useful Play
Big & Little
One had better leave (Il vaut mieux partir)
Flora et Edouard
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Bury My Heart At Dumbass Cowboy
The Good Doctor
Romeo and Juliet
A Short Play About Globalization
What the Butler Saw
We Are Ugly But We Have the Music
A MidWINTER Night's Dream
Future Perfect- A Genetically Modified Musical