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Uncle Vanya

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ENTERTAINMENT
July 23, 2012 | By David Ng
Cate Blanchett is the marquee name of the Sydney Theater Co.'s production of "Uncle Vanya," now playing in New York as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. But the drama is a true ensemble piece that features some of Australia's top actors -- including Richard Roxburgh, who plays the title role of the Chekhov play, as well as Hugo Weaving and Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver. The production has become one of the hottest tickets this summer in New York and is receiving rave review from critics.
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ENTERTAINMENT
June 12, 2013 | By David Ng
It's a pairing that theater producers in New York and London would no doubt go ga-ga over. But for the time being at least, only audiences in Sydney, Australia, can catch Cate Blanchett and French film icon Isabelle Huppert performing a frightening folie à deux in a new production of Jean Genet's "The Maids. " Blanchett and Huppert play the homicidal houseservants Claire and Solange, respectively, in the Sydney Theatre Company's English-language production that is directed by Benedict Andrews.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 29, 1996 | F. KATHLEEN FOLEY
Presupposing as it does the leisure to indulge in it, ennui seems an enviable state, especially in Flora Plumb's staging of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" at Theatre 40. Plumb exploits the tormented indolence of the privileged classes, artfully balancing the melancholic with the nostalgic in her languorous, only occasionally sluggish staging. Idleness begets dissension in this fractious family of pre-Revolutionary Russian aristocrats.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 16, 2013 | By David Ng
The last several months have been wildly up and down for David Mamet. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright saw his new play "The Anarchist" flop on Broadway, while a revival of his "Glengarry Glenn Ross" proved a box office hit thanks to Al Pacino. Mamet received mixed notices for his HBO movie "Phil Spector" last month, but the writer-director has apparently already moved on, casting his next big project.  Variety reports Cate Blanchett will star in Mamet's "Blackbird," a screen thriller about a woman who travels to Los Angeles for the funeral of her grandfather,  a Hollywood visual-effects artist who also worked for the government.  PHOTOS: Hollywood stars on stage The story involves a hidden conspiracy involving the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, according to the report.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 11, 2000 | F. KATHLEEN FOLEY
In Matthew Wilder's far-reaching but uneven staging, "Uncle Vanya: Scenes From Country Life" at Playwrights' Arena alternates between the galvanic and the soporific. Paul Schmidt's updated translation, supposedly set in a small Wisconsin town, keeps the essence of the play intact. A bold innovator, Wilder obviously has fun playing with Schmidt's contemporary references.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 12, 1988 | SYLVIE DRAKE, Times Theater Writer
The old debate about how much a director should impose his vision on someone else's play doesn't go away. It only gets larger. Peter Brook left a very personal signature on such classics as "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Carmen" and, more recently, "The Cherry Orchard." Shakespeare, Bizet and Chekhov were undamaged by the subjectivity.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 13, 1990 | SYLVIE DRAKE, TIMES THEATER WRITER
Director Jack O'Brien's notes in the program for "Uncle Vanya" at the Old Globe go on at length about returning the theater to its actors--getting it away from technical effect. It is a plea for purity. A cry for a return to basics. Technical wizardry has its place (as in the late John Hirsch's wizardly "Coriolanus" two seasons ago), but what O'Brien wants is power for the people: a theater that depends on the wizardry created by its actors. To achieve this takes actors plus.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 19, 1996 | JOHN ANDERSON, FOR THE TIMES
"Uncle Vanya"--cranky, melancholy and definitively fin de siecle--is in fashion as another century wheezes to a close, partly because crankiness and melancholy are in the air. "Vanya" has also proved flexible enough to permit film directors their personal reorientation and relocation: In 1994's "Vanya on 42nd Street" Louis Malle took him to Times Square; in last year's "Country Life" by Michael Blakemore, he emigrated to an Australian sheep ranch. What Malle was after was stylistic innovation.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 2, 2003 | David C. Nichols, Special to The Times
A bittersweet patina of genuine sorrow overlays "Uncle Vanya" at the Crossley Terrace Theatre in Hollywood. Originally slated to open on April 11, the Actors Co-op mounting of Anton Chekhov's 1899 masterpiece of emotional indecision was postponed when founding member David Schall, who played Serebriakov, suffered a fatal coronary shortly before curtain time. Under such circumstances, carrying on becomes noteworthy.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 9, 1999 | MICHAEL PHILLIPS, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
There's a marvelous photograph of Anton Chekhov reprinted, among other places, on the cover of the "Portable Chekhov" short story collection. It shows him in his late 20s, lounging on his front porch with a dog in one hand and a walking stick in the other. No fuddy-duddy; no pince-nez or Great Russian Writer aura. He looks rakish--sexy, even.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 4, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
NEW YORK - Anton Chekhov is always with us in the theater. But this summer his work has been especially prevalent, serving as an inspirational model for such contemporary playwrights as Tracy Letts, Andrew Upton and Annie Baker. Having recently returned from a stifling hot busman's holiday in New York where I saw two productions of "Uncle Vanya," the Baker adaptation at Soho Rep and the Upton adaptation courtesy of the Sydney Theatre Company at the Lincoln Center Festival starring Cate Blanchett, I can't help pondering the meaning of this Chekhovian preponderance.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 23, 2012 | By David Ng
Cate Blanchett is the marquee name of the Sydney Theater Co.'s production of "Uncle Vanya," now playing in New York as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. But the drama is a true ensemble piece that features some of Australia's top actors -- including Richard Roxburgh, who plays the title role of the Chekhov play, as well as Hugo Weaving and Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver. The production has become one of the hottest tickets this summer in New York and is receiving rave review from critics.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 14, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
On the surface, Cate Blanchett would seem to be the least Chekhovian human being on the planet. No idle longing for Moscow for this international stage and screen star, whose frequent flier mileage must have broken the million mark since she and her husband, writer Andrew Upton, took over the Sydney Theatre Company in 2008 and became intercontinental barnstormers. Yet there she is, this paragon of professional fulfillment, garnering raves at home and abroad for her performance in Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" as a trophy wife who has backed herself into a domestic corner by marrying a cranky codger professor.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 12, 2010
Where You've Seen Her Jacki Weaver says she's a born actress: "I have always loved pretending to be other people. I think my mother said I came out of the womb pretending to be somebody else. " The Australian landed her first professional acting job at 15 in a musical production of "Cinderella. " Her movie heyday came in the 1970s when she appeared in such films as Peter Weir's "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and "Caddie. " More recently, she worked with Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths in 1996's "Cosi.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 10, 2009 | Lisa Fung
The Mark Taper Forum has scrapped plans to present "Uncle Vanya" this season and will replace it with a production of David Mamet's "Oleanna." Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles will star in the story of a university professor and one of his students. "Uncle Vanya" fell apart after its anticipated star, Alfred Molina, dropped out. Tony-winning director Doug Hughes will stage "Oleanna," which is scheduled to run May 28 to July 12, with a June 5 opening. -- --Lisa Fung
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 29, 2005 | Myrna Oliver, Times Staff Writer
Constance Cummings, an American actress who dazzled audiences on both sides of the Atlantic on stage and in such motion pictures as "Movie Crazy" and "Blithe Spirit," has died. She was 95. Cummings died Wednesday of natural causes in the Chelsea section of London. She had lived there since 1933, when she married British playwright and member of Parliament Benn Wolfe Levy. He died in 1973.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 1997 | NANCY CHURNIN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
It's an eerie sensation, listening as characters in the century-old "Uncle Vanya" ask what people will think about them and their problems 100 years hence. And the answer? Today's audiences can marvel at the familiarity of their heartbreak, their money worries, their concern about destruction of the environment. Either Chekhov was ahead of his time, as some like to say, or we haven't changed much in the hundred years since--which is far more likely.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 22, 1991 | SYLVIE DRAKE, TIMES THEATER WRITER
It has long been evident that American actors can be as good or better at doing the classics than British ones. But it has just as long been evident that there is little joy or profit in that contest. With tonight's "Great Performances" presentation of an Anglo-American "Uncle Vanya" (9-11 p.m. on Channels 15 and 24, 9:30-midnight on Channel 28), we can take solace in the seamless use made of good acting that hails from both sides of the Atlantic.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 3, 2003 | Daryl H. Miller, Times Staff Writer
Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" is a symphony of regret in which each character picks up the theme, embellishes it and passes it on. At times, it seems like a pity party composed entirely of violin flourishes. When one character in the new Emily Mann adaptation at the La Jolla Playhouse describes those around him as "completely self-absorbed," you want to yell, "Buddy, have you been listening to yourself for the last few minutes?"
ENTERTAINMENT
May 2, 2003 | David C. Nichols, Special to The Times
A bittersweet patina of genuine sorrow overlays "Uncle Vanya" at the Crossley Terrace Theatre in Hollywood. Originally slated to open on April 11, the Actors Co-op mounting of Anton Chekhov's 1899 masterpiece of emotional indecision was postponed when founding member David Schall, who played Serebriakov, suffered a fatal coronary shortly before curtain time. Under such circumstances, carrying on becomes noteworthy.
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