Bon voyage!

A Month in the Country

By Ivan Turgenev
Directed by David Scott
Equity showcase (closes Nov. 20)
Theater Ten Ten
Park Avenue Christian Church building
1010 Park Avenue (between 84th & 85th Sts.; 212/288-3246 ext. 3)
Review by Seth Bisen-Hersh

A Month in the Country is a classic Russian comedy -- not overtly hilarious, but humorous nonetheless. Theater Ten Ten presented an ebullient revival, delving into the text with aplomb.

The plot of A Month in the Country concerns a Russian family -- Arkady Sergeyitch Islayev (David Tillistrand), his wife Natalya Petrovna (Annalisa Loeffler), and their ward Vera Alexandovna (Elizabeth Fountain). There are many conflicts of love throughout the play -- Vera is in love with a student who is staying with them, Alexey Nikolayevitch Beliayev (Timothy McDonough), but he does not love her. Jealous, Natalya starts to have feelings for him, as well. This upsets her husband’s best friend, Mihail Alexandritch Rakitin (Greg Oliver Bodine) whom she has been having an affair with.

Other lust and love comes from an old suitor who wishes to marry Vera. He sends his doctor, Ignaty Ilyitch Shpigelsky (Ron Sanborn) who falls for the spinster, Lizaveta Bogdonvna (Lisa Riegel), to tell her of his intentions. The last lustful couple is the German tutor, Adam Ivanitch Schaaf (Tim McMurray) for the maid, Katya (Beth Ann Leone), who instead fancies the student, Alexey. The final character of the play is the overbearing mother, Anna Semyonovna Islayeva (Paula Hoza).

The show itself is very old Russian, and could have been very stodgy and dull, if not for the exquisite direction and magnificent acting. David Scott brought out passionate, fiery performances from his actors, bringing the text to life. Furthermore, his staging was nicely spread out in the intimate space.

All 10 of the ensemble were great. Of special note was Ron Sanborn, who was superbly articulate and elaborate as the whimsical doctor. Also, Greg Oliver Bodine was great at being furious but funny. Additionally, Annalisa Loeffler was vacillating veraciously as Natalya, while David Tillistrand was charmingly naïve as the cuckolded husband. Elizabeth Fountain and Timothy McDonough were youthful and joyous as the younger pair. Finally, Beth Ann Leone, Lisa Riegel, Paula Hoza, and Tim McMurray made the most of tinier roles, never wasting a moment to shine.

Jeanette Aultz Look’s costume design was appropriately period with bright, vivacious colors. Jennifer Colombo’s set design was efficient and practical. Jay Scott’s lighting design set the mood for the scene well.

Overall, A Month in the Country was a very pleasant month, indeed. Theater 1010 continues to produce innovative revivals of timeless classics.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Set: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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