Uncle Vanya

Anton Chekhov

Scenes of Life in the Country

At the turn of the last century…
In the final days of Czarist Russia…
On an old country estate in decline…
All is not well…

An intellectual will angrily reject his beliefs of the Past,
A beautiful young wife will struggle against her passions of the Present,
An idealistic doctor will attempt to change the path to the Future,
And a lonely young woman shall seek comfort through faith in the After-Life.

In a time of economic decay, imminent revolution and social unrest…
Vast forests have been leveled and each tree is threatened by the axe…
As a civilization teeters on the brink of oblivion…
A change is about to take place…

An impoverished gentleman will find solace, reteating from his troubles though Music.
A feminist free-thinker will withdraw from life around her, escaping into Books.
An aging university professor will seek Immortality through writing about Art.
And an old governess, heart filled with compassion, shall pray for mercy from God.

More than one hundred years ago…
In another country…
In a fragile world of the past…
A fragile world so like our own…

Eight extraordinary characters are brought together.
Eight people searching for meaning, for happiness, for love.
Passionate in their convictions, these wonderful characters are funny, flawed, wise and foolish…
They speak to us, these ghosts from one hundred years ago,
Shadows moving about an old dilapidated house.

As Summer bleeds into Autumn and Autumn, in turn, fades…
Lives will be changed forever.
Some will be shattered like glass;
Others will be rejuvenated, will blossom and flourish.
All will be altered.
All will change.

Such is Life…

A Chekhov play.

The Cast

(In speaking order)

Valerie MacMillan became interested in drama during her school years, graduating in English and French Literature from Trinity College in Dublin, where she took part in productions with the College Players. She went into professional theater and television in England, finally returning to Ireland to play Ophelia opposite Cyril Cusack for a production of “Hamlet”. After coming to Mendocino in 1965, she taught drama at the Mendocino Art Center, and Directed and acted in plays before the Helen Schoeni Theater was built. After a break from theater work, she directed “Arsenic and Old Lace” for MTC in 1997 and served on MTC’s Artistic Direction Committee for three years. In 2002 she performed in a production of “Wit” and then later in a production of “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Main in the Moon Marigolds”. Valerie has been running MtC’s Fall Reading Series for the last eight years.

Carter has been active in theater as an actor and director for the past twenty years. In that time, he has acted in dozens of productions with The Warehouse Repertory Theatre, MTC, Ukiah Players Theatre, and other companies. Roles include Oberon “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Cortez (the bilingual production), “Mascara Entre Sombras”, Man “A Perfect Ganesh”, Picasso “Picasso at the Lapin Agile”, Emil “Three Viewings from the Frolic”, Multiple Roles “The Grapes of Wrath”, Queensberry/Gill/Lockwood “Goss Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde”. He is stoked to be working to produce quality theater for the Mendocino coast with the cast and crew of “Uncle Vanya”. Carter thanks Hugh Dignon for making this production possible, and Jonathan Haugen for his vibrant staging and astute direction. He is also grateful for the physician and master playwright, Anton Chekhov, for creating such multi-dimensional characters and transcendent themes. Carter is also known as the after of Ivy, twelve; and maintains a law practice in Mendocino.

Hugh has performed on the stages of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Foothill Theater Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Festival in Orinda, PCP Theaterfest in Santa Maria, Kern Shakespeare Festival in Bakersfield, San Jose Stage Company, Wyoming Shakespeare Festival Company, Central Works in Berkeley, the Wichita Center for the Arts, The Alliance Francais and Target Margin Theatre in New York City. Locally, he has performed at the Mendocino Theatre Company and the Warehouse Repertory Theater. He is a graduate of the American Conservatory Theater Advance Training Program and Vassar College. Roles he has played include: Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing”, Johnny Pateen in “The Cripple of Inishman”, Valere in “La Bete”, “Tamberlaine”, Chandel and Poche in “A Flea In Her Ear”, Mercrucio in “Romeo and Juliet”, Mellersh in “Enchanted April”, and “Richard II”. Most recently he played the Lord of the Underworld in “Euridice” directed by Steve Siler at MTC. For Rock the Ground’s first season, last year he directed both the “Rocky Horror Show” and “Hamlet” – in which he played the title role for the fourth (and final) time.

Cindy has been involved in theatre on the coast since the early nineties. Her favorite roles at MTC include: Izzy in “The Rabbit Hole” , Lisa Morrison in “Collected Stories”, Anne Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker” and Carol in “Oleanna”. At the Warehouse Repertory Theatre, she enjoyed playing Viola in “Twelfth Night”, Margaret in “Much Ado About Nothing”, Emily in “Our Town” (directed by Hugh Dignon), and Chris in “Dancing at Lughnasa”. In musical theatre, she performed in Gloriana Opera Company’s “Little Shop of Horrors”, as Ronnette, and “The Mikado” as Pitty-Sing. Cindy wants to thank Hugh for this opportunity, Jonathan for all his guidance, and Anton Chekhov for Sonya. Working on “Uncle Vanya” has renewed her love of the truth of theater.

Dan was invited to Mendocino in 1984 to teach an acting workshop for MTC and has lived in the area ever since, continuing to teach acting (as well as playwriting) and perform in local theatre. He is the director of the TeenScenes wing of the Jumpstart! Young People’s theatre, for which he writes an original full-length play every year. Recent acting roles for MtC include Wilde in “Gross Indecency” and Clive in “The Circle”. He played Claudius in last year’s Rock the Ground production of “Hamlet”.

Christopher Yeiser is a recent transplant from Baltimore, Maryland, where he performed with Fablevision, The Living Room Company, Maryland Stage Company, Performance Workshop Theatre, and Shakespeare On Wheels. Most recently, Chris played Big Stone in Mendocino Theatre Company’s production of “Eurydice”. He attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Lorry has been privileged to have worked with both the Mendocino Theatre Company and Gloriana Musical Theater. Among the MTC shows, she has acted in Steve Siler’s “Laramie Project” and “Enchanted April”, Ken Whit’e “Rabbit Hole”, and most recently Bob Cohen’s “Picnic”. She was a member of MTC’s Artistic Committee, and directed “The Vagina Monalogues” as a joint production for Kathy O’Grady’s “Jumpstart”; these are MTC’s productions for young people. She has directed “Aristocats”, “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory”, and will be directing the present production of “Alice In Wonderland” for the Gloriana Musical Theater Company. This is the first time she is working with Rock the Ground Theater Company, and is delighted to be working with such a wonderful cast and director.

Felicia has over the years been involved as an actor, stage manager, designer, and director in Mendocino and Ashland, Oregon. After working primarily at Oregon Stage Works in Ashland’s historic railroad district, Felicia returned home to Mendocino in 2008. She most recently directed “Dog See God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead”, and ‘unauthorized parody’ of Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts” for the Mendocino Theatre Company. At MTC, Felicia was last seen in William Inge’s “Picnic” ad Madge Owens, “’59 Pink Thunderbird” as Amy Lee Fullernoy, and Neil LaBute’s “Autobahn” as the drug addicted ‘young woman’ in “Funny”. She is currently a member of the Mendocino Theatre Company Artistic Committee, and most enjoys her time coordinating the Reading Series for the company. Through her work in the Reading Series, she has had the privilege of working as an actor or director with such challenging plays as “Blood Moon”, “The Mai”, “Equus”, “Mr. Marmalade”, “Closer”, and others. Favorite roles include Sandy in the “Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” (MTC Reading Series), Jacking O in “The House of Yes” (MTC Reading Series), Mayella Ewell in “To Kill A Mockingbird” (Oregon Stage Works), Gloria Pellatori in “Duke” (Ashland Community Theatre), and the Madame de Merteuil in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” (MTC Reading Series).

Staff and Crew

Director – Jonathan Haugen

Artistic Director – Hugh Dignon
Associate Artists – Todd and Lavender Grace Cinnamon, Jonathan Haugen, Eyan Candini, Steven Bates, Matthew Strong and Trane Evenoldsen

Technical Director & Set Designer – Matthew Strong
Lighting Design – Steve Siler
Costume Design – Eyan Candini
Costume Assistant – Trane Evenolsen
Hair – Jakey Hicks
Props – Sebastian Melmouth
Rehearsal Stage Managers – Betty Abramson & Betty Dupre
House Manager – James Joyce
Production Coordinator – Danielle Frey
Program – Lavender Grace Productions
Banner – Alan Furgison
Poster – Allan Droyan & Don Hall
Tent and Layout – Matt Rowland

Special Thanks

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Lee Edmondson, Veronica Krestow, Betty Abramson, Ry Southard, Cheryl Dupre, Steve Siler, James Dignon, Richard Lina and Estates Gallery, Peg and the Mendocino Rec Center, Dalen and the Caspar Community Center, Lynette Johnson, Howard & Linda Berry, James Joyce, Allan Furguson of Braggadoon, Tommy Tillotson, Michael Brown, Lavender Grace Productions, Steven Bates, Bill Botrell, Jennifer Owns, Terri’s Oyster Bar, Piaci, V’Canto, Mendo Burgers, Franklin Street Cafe, Patterson’s Pub, Shennon and Brian Morris of Morris Catering of Mendocino, Eddie and Gus, Off the Hook, Danielle Frey, Trane Enevoldsen, Harvest Market, Zo Office Supplies, Don Hall, Cowlick’s Ice Cream Shop, Evan Peterson of Boom Drums, Suzi Long and Steve Greenwood.

For their beautiful contribution, many thanks to the Calendar Ladies of Mendocino!

And lastly, a particular pat on the back to our dear friend, Jonathan Haugen who took the time out of his busy schedule at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to return to his artistic home-away-from-home and play with us in our sand box. The term, Renaissance Man is over used these days, but he truly is one: a playwright, composer, musician and singer, visual artist and sculptor, an Elizabethan and Jacobean Scholar, a translator of foreign plays, as well as being a gifted actor and visionary director. As he is won’t to say, so emphatically, “There is no time. Do you understand?  We have to build. Let’s build.”

Yes, my brother, let’s build!