The Birth of Modern Theatre
Uncle Vanya is a play by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. It was first published in 1897 and received its Moscow première in 1899 in a production by the Moscow Art Theatre, under the direction of Konstantin Stanislavski.
“Uncle Vanya is a revision of an earlier Chekhov play; in some sense it is thus also a rewriting of the conventional melodramatic plot that he heavily relied upon. Like most works of turn-of-the-century melodrama, The Wood Demon—Vanya‘s precursor—is organized around a structure of erotic intrigue involving three couples, the plot putting them through passionate seductions, arresting complications, desperate hand-wringing over hopeless romances, and a happy ending. Vanya also repeats this structure of erotic intrigue, but, he does so with a marked difference. The seductions are awkward and stilted, boorish and bungled, the players are indifferent to, oblivious to, or repulsed by each other, and, ultimately, their games leave everyone in a miserable situation. What we are charting here then is both a subversion of genre as well as an erotic subplot that is consistent with the thematic concerns of loss, regret, and the wasted life discussed above.” –SparkNotes
Uncle Vanya is unique among Chekhov’s major plays because it is essentially an extensive reworking of his own play published a decade earlier, The Wood Demon. By elucidating the specific changes Chekhov made during the revision process – these include reducing the cast-list from almost two dozen down to a lean nine, changing the climactic suicide of the The Wood Demon into the famous failed homicide of Uncle Vanya, and altering the original happy ending into a more problematic, less final resolution – critics such as Donald Rayfield, Richard Gilman, and Eric Bentley have sought to chart the development of Chekhov’s dramaturgical method through the 1890s.
Rayfield cites recent scholarship suggesting Chekhov revised The Wood Demon during his trip to the island of Sakhalin, a prison colony in Eastern Russia, in 1891.
- Aleksandr Vladimirovich Serebryakov (Александр Владимирович Серебряков) – a retired university professor, who has lived for years in the city on the earnings of his late first wife’s rural estate, managed for him by Vanya and Sonya.
- Helena Andreyevna Serebryakov (Yelena) (Елена Андреевна Серебрякова) – Professor Serebryakov’s young and beautiful second wife. She is 27 years old.
- Sofia Alexandrovna Serebryakov (Sonya) (Софья Александровна Серебрякова) – Professor Serebryakov’s daughter from his first marriage. She is of a marriageable age but is considered plain.
- Maria Vasilyevna Voynitsky (Мария Васильевна Войницкая) – the widow of a privy councilor and mother of Vanya (and of Vanya’s late sister, the Professor’s first wife).
- Ivan Petrovich Voynitsky (“Uncle Vanya”) (Иван Петрович Войницкий) – Maria’s son and Sonya’s uncle, the title character of the play. He is 47 years old.
- Mikhail Lvovich Astrov (Михаил Львович Астров) – a middle aged country doctor.
- Ilya Ilych Telegin (Илья Ильич Телегин; nicknamed “Waffles” for his pockmarked skin) – an impoverished landowner, who now lives on the estate as a dependent of the family.
- Marina Timofeevna (Марина Тимофеевна) – an old nurse.
- A Workman
Jessica DalCanton (Helena Andreyevna Serebryakov (Yelena)) Hedgerow Arms and the Man Regional: Love’s Labour’s Lost (Revolution Shakespeare) The Goldilocks Zone (Passage Theatre) Caught, Silverhill (InterAct) Twelfth Night (Commonwealth Shakespeare) The Tempest (Shakespeare Clark Park) Changes of Heart (P.A.C). Venetian Rep, Don Juan (Quintessence) A Bright New Boise (Simpatico) Greek Theatre Project (Iris Theatre Company); Boeing Boeing (Act 2) Hedda Gabler (Mauckingbird). Training: BFA, U.T., MA, Villanova. Love to Liam & Meli.www.jessicadalcanton.com
Jennifer Summerfield (Sofia Alexandrovna Serebryakov (Sonya)) is excited to make her Chekhov debut with such a wonderful team of artists. Hedgerow: Macbeth (Lady Macbeth,) Hamlet (Horatio,) Dracula (VanHelsing,) and Gaslight (Bella.) Recent productions: The Yellow Wallpaper and Hedda Gabler (Laurel Tree Theatre,) A Republic, Madam (National Constitution Center,) Sense and Sensibility (People’s Light,) Dancing at Lughnasa (Curio Theatre). Training: Smith College and the Neighborhood Playhouse, and would love to discuss bringing her one-woman show, The Yellow Wallpaper, to your school or venue. Endless gratitude to my family. www.jennifersummerfield.com
Adam Altman (Ivan Petrovich Voynitsky (Vanya)) is pleased to be making his Hedgerow debut! Recent: The War of the Roses (Delaware Theatre Company), As You Like It (Lantern Theater), Dogfall by Caleb Lewis (Iron Age Theatre), Hedda Gabler at the Physick House (Laurel Tree Theater). Training: Seton Hill University and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Upcoming: The White Devil (Philadelphia Artists’ Collective) and Henry V (Delaware Shakespeare Festival). Many thanks to Kittson & Jared for the opportunity. Love to Katie, Seamus, & Lucius! For Mel.
Jared Reed (Mikhail Lvovich Astrov) has been proudly associated with Hedgerow since 1990 and is tremendously excited to be a part of this wonderful company. A Juilliard School graduate, Jared has appeared nationally at the Old Globe in San Diego, The McCarter Theatre, The Huntington, Cleveland Playhouse, The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and others. He appeared off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane before making his home in the Philadelphia region, co-founding Curio Theatre Company, and starting a family.
John Lopes (Aleksandr Vladimirovich Serebryakov) John is thrilled to be back at Hedgerow for his fourth show! He was last seen as Dr Seward in Dracula, Claudius/Ghost in Hamlet, and Duncan/Doctor in Macbeth. Recently he portrayed the King of France in Philadelphia Artists Collective’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well. Next up; PAC’s production of White Devil. To Gary Christianson, in loving memory.
Penenlope Reed (Maria Vasilyevna Voynitsky) loves leading this versatile company that serves the Delaware Valley Community. A fourth generation theater artist, Ms.Reed distinguished herself in many roles as leading actress, director and master teacher at The Milwaukee Repertory and McCarter Theatres, among others. Academic and Administration credits include Alverno College and The Lawrenceville School Theatre Department Chair and Robert G. Pitman and Alan P. Kirby Art Centers where she served as Administrator. Her passion for the last twenty years has been enlightening minds and transforming lives through theater.
Allison Bloechl (Worker) holds a B.A.S. in Theatre and Environmental Science from Muhlenberg College where she studied Acting and Performance Studies. She is a registered Actor-Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors and a trained vocalist. Allison was last seen at Hedgerow in The Hitchhiker’s Guide. www.allisonbloechl.com
Zoran Kovcic (Ilya Ilych Telegin (Waffles)) has been a member of the Hedgerow family since 1991 in a variety of capacities: Actor, Designer, Stage Manager, General Manager, etc. His favorite roles are those that make people laugh especially his wife Penelope Reed.
Irma Mason (Marina Timofeevna (Nurse)) former lead vocalist for the Philadelphia based Orlons and the Larks; retired educator form Chester-Upland School district; holds a Masters of Fine Arts from Villanova University. Have appeared at many Philadelphia theaters and at Hedgerow. Recent: Camino Real (Gypsy); Seascape (Nancy); Museum (one of the guards) and more recently performed the life of Harriet Tubman for many local schools and organizations in the Delaware County community. Grateful to be a part of this magnificent company of actors and to rediscover the spirit of endurance and compassion of Chekhov’s ’Nanny’!
Mark Swift (Laborer) is a Hedgerow Theatre Fellow whose previous Hedgerow credits include A Christmas Carol, Gaslight, Boeing Boeing, The Servant of Two Masters, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Dracula, and No Sex Please We’re British. Mark is thrilled to be playing on the Hedgerow stage with such a talented cast.
Josh Portera (Worker) Graduating from Muhlenberg College (B.A. Theatre), past credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Bazzard), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Snout), and 44 Plays for 44 Presidents.
Leslie Boyden (Assistant Stage Manager) is a second year stage management fellow. Previous Hedgerow credits include Bullshot Crummond (SM) Dracula (ASM) A Christmas Carol 2015 & 2016 (SM) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Parts 1 & 2 (SM) Or, (SM), The Mysterious Affair At Styles (Sound Designer/ASM), The Servant of Two Masters (Sound Designer/ASM) Boeing Boeing (SM). She graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2014 with a BA in Theatre.
Robin Stamey (Lighting Designer) is a Philadelphia based lighting designer and production manager. She has designed and/or production managed for Almanac Dance Circus Theatre (Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes, Exile 2588), 11th Hour Theatre Company (Urinetown, Lizzie), The Berserker Residents (The Post Show Edinburgh Fringe 2014, It’s So Learning), Curio Theater Company (The Birds, The Cripple of Inishmaan) Tribe of Fools (Zombies…with Guns), among others. She is also a producer with Almanac Dance Circus Theatre (www.thealmanac.us), co-founder of Seven Engines (www.sevenengines.com), and Executive Board Member of Theatrical Trainer (www.theatricaltrainer.com), and an inaugural resident of the Philadelphia Design Center (www.phillydesigncenter.org).
Robert Kaplowitz (Original Music & Sound Design) has spent the last 24 years designing sound and composing, and has been honored with an OBIE for Sustained Excellence in Sound Design and a Tony® for Fela! A Philadelphian since 2010, he’s also designed locally for Azuka, PlayPenn, The Wilma, The Arden, Lucidity Suitcase, The Lantern, Pig Iron, Elastic Theater, PTC, PL&TC, Shakespeare in Clark Park and Flashpoint; further flung design credits include Lincoln Center, The National Theatre of England, The Public Theatre and Sundance. He is the grateful recipient of a 2013 Independence Grant, the resident producer at Nine Hostage Arts, and he loves his family more than he loves all of this stuff.
Sarah Mitchell (Costume Designer) is delighted to return to Hedgerow to design Uncle Vanya! She is currently a freelance costume designer and technician in the Philadelphia area, as well as a Stitcher at the Walnut Street Theatre and the Wardrobe Supervisor at the National Constitution Center. Recent design credits include: Gaslight (Hedgerow), The Comedy of Errors (Delaware Shakespeare Festival), Zombie in Love (WST) and The Producers, Hairspray, The Rocky Horror Show (Livingston Theatre Company). Many thanks to the amazing cast and crew, and to all of the wonderful people at Hedgerow!
Sebastienne Mundheim (Set Design) is an interdisciplinary performance-maker, installation artist, educator and the Founder and Artistic Director of White Box Theatre and has been creating work for 25 years. Her artwork integrates visual installation, puppetry, storytelling, dance and theater. She develops story and physical environment in tandem, writing and building together, finally collaborating with performers to animate visual, lyrical and literary worlds. Works have been commissioned and/or presented by: The Rosenbach Museum and Library, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, The University of Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, Lantern Theater Company, The Arden Theatre, PA Ballet, Franklin and Marshall College, Keene State University, Vermont Performance Lab, Marlboro College, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, Baltimore Theater Project, and many more. Mundheim has studied puppetry at the O’Neill Center, Sandglass Puppetry Institute, and with Hua Hua Zhang. In 2010 she received a Philadelphia Theatre Initiative support to study with the Hand Spring Puppet Company in South Africa. In 2011 she was a finalist for the Pew Fellowship in the Arts. In 2013 she received an Independence Foundation Fellowship. She received a Barrymore awards in 2012 for Outstanding Design. Mundheim received her EdM from Harvard in 2000.
White Box Theatre is an outgrowth of Mundheim’s pedagogical and artistic practice. White Box Theatre creates original, interdisciplinary works of art, and arts-based educational experiences with a particular focus on including young artists in the creation process.
Grey Kelsey (Props) s a children’s theatre writer, teacher, actress, director, singer, composer of music and teacher of Drama for Youth from Rose Valley, Pennsylvania. She was a resident teacher at Hedgerow School for Musical Children’s Theatre from 1999 to 2006 when she became the instructor of the Drama Club at the Media Providence Friends School for three years. Returning once again to her beloved Hedgerow, Grey is teaching the Youth Classes, touring, and involved once again with the continuing need for organization needed for live theatre.
Susan Wefel (Props) is a graduate of Boston University’s Theatre School and is a 37-year veteran actress and Company Member of Hedgerow Theatre. She has studied under Dolores Tanner, Rose Schulman, Janet Kelsey, Louis Lippa, and Penelope Reed. Susan teaches our Children and Teens in camps, Saturday classes, and our performance classes, and with Chester Charter.
Sarah Mitchell is delighted to return to Hedgerow to design Uncle Vanya! She is currently a freelance costume designer and technician in the Philadelphia area, as well as a Stitcher at the Walnut Street Theatre and the Wardrobe Supervisor at the National Constitution Center. Recent design credits include: Gaslight (Hedgerow), The Comedy of Errors (Delaware Shakespeare Festival), Zombie in Love (WST) and The Producers, Hairspray, The Rocky Horror Show (Livingston Theatre Company). Many thanks to the amazing cast and crew, and to all of the wonderful people at Hedgerow!
Carly Bodnar is a director, teaching artist, and sometimes actor. She is the co-artistic director and founding member of ReVamp Collective, a Philadelphia based women centric though not women exclusive theatre company. Most recently Carly directed Sarah Treem’s Feminine Ending with East End Theatre Company and Plays and Players. Last year she directed, a new piece on gender roles, Sh*t Men Have Said as part of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival with ReVamp Collective. Carly has directed many staged reading and for multiple play festivals.Carly’s assist directing credits include Shakespeare in Clark Park’s A Winter’s Tale, Lantern Theater Company’s Taming of the Shrew, and Plays and Players’ A People’s History of the United States.Carly received her BA in Theatre from Temple University with a minor in Art History. Next up for Carly is directing the world premiere of “Jimmy Gorski is Dead” with ReVamp Collective at Plays and Players in March and working again with Kittson and Shakespeare in Clark Park this summer on Coriolanus.
For more information visit www.carlylbodnar.com
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