In association with Boise State, Sun Valley's non-profit theatre group Company of Fools is presenting Chekhov's Uncle Vanya at the Morrison Center through the end of May. "I don't want to know the truth, Elena. There's still a possibility of hope when you don't know the truth, isn't there?" Sonya says in Act III in this new version by Brian Friel. Master playwright Anton Chekhov originally wrote the play to consist of the disruptive effect of a summer visit by an ailing professor and his young wife, Elena, to the country estate he inherited from his first wife, now managed by his daughter from his first marriage, Sonja, and her Uncle Vanya. The social, cultural and romantic repercussions of the visit cause great ripples throughout the household to form the basis of the story's plot. Other characters include Vanya's mother (a tea-drinking and wisdom-spouting old nanny) and the doctor called to treat the professor whose housecall lasts until the end of the play.
Friel's adaption keeps the play's integrity intact as he has long been fascinated by Russian writers and by the work of Chekhov in particular. In 1981, Friel translated his first play, Chekhov's Three Sisters, for the Field Day Theatre in Northern Ireland. Friel returned to Chekhov in 1998 with his translation of Uncle Vanya.
The production embedded in a distinctive historical and cultural landscape requires the translator to fashion an original repetition of the story that has been shaped by those determinants. "This requires a carrying across of that text over a gap of 100 years and across the divide of language and culture, and then representing the story in a language that keeps faith with the subtleties of the original but whose rhythms and nuances we respond to today. Such an undertaking is audacious and cheeky. But if it reflects even palely Chekhov's sense and sensibility, it is well worth the risk," said Friel. Dancing at Lughnasa, Friel's most acclaimed work, won the 1991 Olivier Award for Best Play and garnered three Tony Awards, so this guy knows what he's doing.
It's fitting that Friel is responsible for undertaking the daunting challenge of translating the masterpiece, as he has much in common with Chekhov. Both are noted short story writers as well as playwrights who create a sense of dissolving old worlds leaving characters behind in their own realities. They have often been compared for their finesse in combining humor and tragedy. The cast under Rusty Wilson's direction features Phil Atlakson, Neil Brookshire, Kathyrn Cherasaro, Ann Hoste, Arthur Glen Hughes, Steven (Stitch) Marker, Gordon Reinhart, Laine Satterfield and Carole Whiteleather.
World Famous Mime and Comedian
Where's the scuba gear, mermaids and sharks, not to mention the water in Trent Arterberry's comedy show this Friday? Though the audience cheers him on while he dons scuba gear and dives into an underwater world, there's still no Ariel in sight because this comedy show revolves around the magic of mime. For over 30 years, Arterberry, a student of Marcel Marceau, has been mesmerizing audiences with his entertaining blend of mime, zany music and quirky sound effects. From Roboman to Scuba Dude, the show also includes a two-foot-tall human puppet named Mr. Bigg dancing to rap and Russian folk songs. Not exactly your typical Friday night.
Arterberry's uniquely engaging lunacy is for kids and adults alike as his remarkable physical skills and irrepressible playfulness inspire laughter and amazement.
Arterberry is serious about the art as he left pre-med studies at UCLA in 1970 to study mime, eventually training with Marcel Marceau, the renowned French master. During his professional career, he has performed for thousands of audiences of all ages across North America, Europe and Asia and received numerous awards and distinctions. Arterberry proves a mime can reach national fame as he's opened for many major recording artists like B.B. King, Marvin Hamlish, Spyro Gyra and The Kinks. He also opened for Julio Iglesias on his first North American Tour, which included four nights at New York's renowned Radio City Music Hall. If you have yet to see a mime perform outside the occasional street fair, this show's your chance to witness a professional in action.
7:30 p.m., $12.50, Colonial Theatre, Idaho Falls, 522-0471, www.idahofallsarts.org.
Friday 20-Sunday 22
Eagle Island Experience
Get away from it all this weekend without venturing beyond the Treasure Valley at the Eagle Island Experience. This celebration of music, art, diversity and social change is an opportunity to walk around for two and a half days without seeing a single skyscraper or traffic light (if we had skyscrapers in Idaho). The festival will be in full swing with two stages of music and dance, arts and crafts, spontaneous parades (bursting at anyone's whim?), kid and teen activities, paint the VW bus (singing "c'mon people now ..."), food, drink, not to mention Tomfoolery galore. Use the festivities as a chance to sport your Burning Man 2005 art costume and maybe walk away with a cash prize for your unique threads. Trash for Cash recycled art contest will also garner up cash prizes at this weekend where the motto is akin to SNL's Stewart Smalley: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and dog-gone-it, people like me."
Children who previously auditioned for the kids' talent show will get the chance to share their skills, though all youngsters are warmly welcomed to the festival according to the Eagle Island Experience Web site: "Wee, the little people, invite you to join us in the kids section at the Eagle Island Experience for a very special talent show and more."
Friday, 5-9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $1, FREE for kids, Eagle Island State Park, http://experiencefestival.org.
Seattle Women's Choir
If you thought a women's chorus meant they just stand on the risers singing about social justice, the Seattle Women's Chorus and Captain Smartypants will change your tune. Though the Seattle Women's Chorus has only been around for two seasons, they have become known as one of the largest and finest women's choirs in the world. Their concert theme, "It's Our Party!" is a musical tribute to the girl vocalists of the 1950s and 1960s who spoke for an entire generation. Captain Smartypants is the sidekick act to make you laugh till you cry while creating exquisite harmony. A comedy ensemble from the Seattle Men's Chorus, Captain Smartypants' most recent CD Undercover has been picked up for distribution by iTunes. And with a name like Captain Smartypants, how can you go wrong? Presented by Idaho Voices For Diversity, a local 501c3 community choir, the Seattle Women's Chorus and Captain Smartypants promises to be "the grandest, gayest celebration in the history of Boise!" A limited number of prime seats which include admission to the post-concert cast party are available for $60 each, or two for $100 at 853-1051.
7:30 p.m., $18.50-$23.50, www.idahotickets.com.