Chekhov under an open sky

Ivanov (Rob Campbell) dances on the water of Lake Lucille in the magical conclusion to Chekhov's Ivanov. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Lake Lucille echoed with the sounds of stagecraft for five days last week as a company of 60 actors, musicians and various other theater professionals put together a free, outdoor production of Ivanov, by Anton Chekhov, performed from a new translation by Curt Columbus.

This production of Chekhov on Lake Lucille was particularly welcomed because it marked the return of a neighborhood tradition. The annual run was broken last summer when host-producers Melissa Kievman and Brian Mertes moved to the West Coast for personal and professional reasons. But they kept their wonderful brownstone house — which is the centerpiece of the set for each Chekhov production — and managed to return this summer with a bigger-than-ever performance and neighborhood cookout and potluck supper at intermission.

Melissa Kievman, Brian Mertes and the band.

You could call it summer camp for theater professionals. Most of the volunteer staff spent the week living in tents, eating meals alfresco in the neighborhood and working to create a context for Chekhov’s drama in the suburban landscape of the Lake Lucille neighborhood.

It drew hundreds of guests to enjoy the creative staging under clear skies with moderate summer temperatures.

Dozens of neighbors and local businesses provided support for an undertaking that costs thousands of dollars. This year, the West Branch Conservation Association, Rockland’s Land Trust, helped produce the play with a grant obtained by the office of Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski and the late state Sen. Thomas P. Morahan. The Tisch East Alumni Council help with a microgrant for costuming.

The production uses the natural features. Here Ivanov makes an entrance from the lake itself.

Ivanov emerges, dripping wet.

Ivanov walks through the audience toward the stage.

As is often the case in Chekhov, the characters complain of boredom.

But Jesse J. Perez, who played Kosikh, choreographed some great routines to keep things interesting:

Check out more photos after the jump.

Your wife is going to die, Doctor Lvov (Ted Schneider) tells Ivanov.

Anna cough, but hardly looks like a woman dying of consumption.

Nyack's Bill Irwin, who starred in the last production of Chekhov on Lake Lucille, was a spectator on Saturday.

Joanna Settle of Connecticut's Shakespeare on the Sound, was one of many theater professionals in the audience.

Chad I. Goodridge (behind the counter, right), from the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Passing Strange attended to support a friend and pitched in at the community barbecue at intermission.

A scene on the east stage.

Ivanov works his magic on Sasha (Susan Pourfar), as if he needed to.

Kosikh (Jesse J. Perez).

Ivanov perches on the bed.

Sasha really wants to marry Ivanov, no matter what anybody says.

Unable to persuade Sasha to call off the wedding, Ivanov descends from his perch in a tree.

Ivanov confronts Lvov.

3 responses to “Chekhov under an open sky

  1. Too freaking cool, Steven. Thanks for taking us along on your cultural pursuits.

  2. Pingback: Ubu Sings Ubu: Cleveland cult band’s music torn up and stewed | Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?

  3. Pingback: Nyack’s Bill Irwin puts on his ‘Old Hats’ again | Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s