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Ensemble member Shannon Hoag in Uncle Vanya.

Uncle Vanya

Photo credit: Chris Ocken




Season 22

Feb 20, 2010–Mar 27, 2010

3829 N. Broadway

Vanya thought he could be content living vicariously through his brother-in-law’s academic triumphs and managing that brother-in-law’s rural estate. But when the professor abruptly retires and forces his excessively young second wife to give up the pleasures of Moscow for a life on the farm, her intoxicating beauty and talent for sitting around all day cause the smooth routine of hard work to erupt with sex, violence, and other inappropriate behaviors.

“… this pointed, powerful Uncle Vanya (translated by Curt Columbus) stands on its own, maintaining a fine balance between hilarity and profundity and marking director Kimberly Senior as one of the best interpreters of Chekhov in these parts. Tom Hickey plays Vanya with an acerbic relish that never loses sight of the middle-aged bachelor’s anguish, and Michaela Petro’s spitfire Sonya may be the most heartbreaking take I’ve seen on this most heartbreaking of all characters.”

— Chicago Reader

““Suffering should be presented as it is expressed in life: not via arms and legs but through tone and expression,” Chekhov wrote. His exhortation for the natural depiction of the human condition onstage is stunningly realized in Senior’s rather dark production of Columbus’s blunt, droll translation. Varying shades of misery, from taut repression to slaphappy bromides, are subtly treated by director and the Strawdog team, now old hands at displaying the comedy of real life” that Chekhov demanded of the theater. That approach is reinforced by Tom Burch’s exquisite set design, inspired by artist Joseph Cornell: The characters’ litany of grievances bounces off shadow-box walls, their shelves lined with dried and bottled ephemera of life passed by… Tom Hickey, who attacks with viper-like precision as a gloomy, acerbic Vanya, leads a skillful cast, including Kyle Hamman’s wry doctor (and proto-environmentalist) Astrov, Michaela Petro’s wild-eyed Sonya, and Shannon Hoag, luminous as the beautifully idle” Yelena, who locates the darkness beneath her utter boredom. Their messy interactions add up to beautiful Chekhovian chaos and demonstrate that suffering is easier than changing. In Senior’s hands, the stagnant life in Uncle Vanya is both recognizable and compelling.”

— Time Out Chicago


Tim Curtis

as Serebrykov

Ryan Patrick Dolan

as Yefim

Patricia Donegan

as Marina

Carmine Grisolia.

Carmine Grisolia*

as Telegin (Waffles)

Kyle Hamman.

Kyle Hamman*

as Astrov

Tom Hickey

as Vanya

Shannon Hoag.

Shannon Hoag*

as Yelena

Michaela Petro.

Michaela Petro

as Sonya

Creative Team

Anton Chekhov

Curt Columbus

Kimberly Senior
Assistant Director

Danni Parpan
Set Design

Tom Burch
Set Design

Sean T. Mallary
Light Design

Jordan Kardasz*
Ass't Light Design

Aly Renee Amidei*
Costume Design

D.J. Reed
Props Design

Mikhail Fiksel
Sound Design

Mike Mroch

Ellen Willett
Stage Manager

* Strawdog Theatre ensemble member