Upcoming Davidson theatrical production “A Month in the Country”

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The Davidson College Department of Theatre kicks off the 2012-13 season with the Mainstage production of A Month in the Country, Ivan Turgenev’s best known but rarely performed comedy.

Assistant Professor of Theatre Mark Sutch directs a cast of eleven Davidson students and one community youngster in this tale of the subtle passions and manipulations of a family on a Russian countryestate in the 1840s. The wealthy and bored Natalya develops a crush on her son’s young tutor, sparking a bitingly funny love triangle with attendant unrequited passion, fragile relationships, and disillusions of domestic life. Turgenev presents a picture of the Russian aristocracy that is at once bothpainfully bitter and joyfully nostalgic.

Productions will be October 26 at 8:15 p.m., October 27 at 8 p.m., October 28 at 2 p.m., November 2 at 8 p.m., andNovember 3 at 8 p.m., all in Duke Family Performance Hall. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $12 for seniors, and $6 for students. Call 704-894-2135 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays for reservations, or purchase online at www.davidson.edu/tickets.

Turgenev was one of the most prominent authors of the Golden Age of Russian literature, and the first to gain an international reputation. He ranks as one of the greatest stylists in the Russian language, but was overshadowed in his lifetime by literary giants Lev Tolstoy and Feodor Dostoevsky. A Month in the Country is considered Turgenev’s theatricalmasterpiece, and it influenced the psychological realism of Anton Chekov’s plays. Unlike his contemporaries, Turgenev’s works focused more on social reform than religious matters.

Professor of Theatre Joe Gardner designed the set for the Davidsonproduction, Carolyn Bryan and Barbara Wesselman designed the costumes, and Josh Peklo designed the lighting. The college actors are Kara Copeland ’15, Haley DeLuca ’15, Michael Diamant ’13, Dylan Goodman ’16, Sam Krusi ’13, Derek Marsh ’14, Nick McGuire ’14, Christine Noah ’14, Cea Rubin ’13, Matthew Schlerf ’16, and Ian Thomson ’15.

The production will preserve the play’s setting in Russia of the 1840s and 1850s with period costumes, but the set is simple, abstract and evocative. Director Mark Sutch explained, “I didn’t want to load the play down with period detail. It was important that the focus be on the acting and the characters, and that we work to make those characters as approachable as possible.”

Sutch originally considered producing a play by Anton Chekhov as a challenge to himself and his actors. Then he stumbled upon A Month in the Country, which is similar to a Chekhov play, but precedes Chekhov by 50 years. Sutch explained, “A Month In the Country felt lighter, simpler, and funnier than Chekov. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever directed and I fell in love with it. I think it will be a tremendously exciting experience for the actors, and hopefully quite rewarding for the audience as well.”

For more information about the production, call 704-894-2930.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal artscolleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.
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