Monday, July 23, 2018


Patrick Marber's thoughtful reduction of Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country emerges with The Blunderers: the partner cast of Three Days in the Country and does not disappoint.  Having enjoyed Antaeus partner casting in the past, this opportunity to remark on The Blunderers vis a vis The Assassins is welcome.  Marber's script echoes the familiar 19th century Russian tone that those who have enjoyed the works of Anton Chekhov will recognize.  Melancholy mixed with warmth and good humor enlivens each character.  It's about love: passion.   In the opening scene we see what must be a game of Hearts with the German tutor, Herr Schaff (Marcelo Tubert) engaged with Lizaveta (Lily Knight) and Arkady's mother Anna (Lorna Raver) that slightly opens the door to romance. 
Lily Knight, Marcelo Tubert and Loran Rover

It's the middle of the 19th Century and the formality of a household: staff, tutors and visitors is light: even casual.  Natalya's "friend" Ratikin (Leo Marks), who also happens to be a best friend to her husband, Arkady (Antonio Jaramillo) has been invited for a visit for reasons that are not entirely clear but his being in the mix helps to define as well as confuse the romantic issues that we discover with the wandering eye of Natalya (Nike Doukas).
Leo Marks and Nike Doukas
Doukas brings a strong performance as the over sexed wife of the over wrought ArkadyArkady has come to the country estate from the city with misgivings and in somewhat typical Russian style, the family, the visitors and the staff of the estate all have a stake in who loves whom and why. 
Servant Matvey (Jay Lee) loves the lovely Katya, a lusty maid, (Lila Dupree) who is enamored of the new hunky German tutor Belyaev (Peter Mendoza), who in turn has given the wrong impression to Natalya's adopted ward Vera (Jeanne Syquia) who is sought after by the old guy next door, Bolshintsov (Gregory Itzin) who, like John Alden, has been promoted by the good doctor Shpigelsky (Armin Shimerman), who at what may be described as approaching his twilight years, engages  Lizaveta in a hilarious exchange of requirements if these two,  may, indeed, become a couple. Poor Natalya is over whelmed when engaging with Raitkin, frustrated with her marriage and struggling with her adoration of Belyaev.  

Each individual performance is well tuned by director Andrew Paul, who has allowed the individual actors to carve out specifics for themselves.  The broad histrionics of one actor's approach may be more subtle than the performance of his or her counterpart. This, of course, leads to texture and the beauty of timing and nuance.  The ensemble works. 
A nice turn as Kolya by Elijah Justice as the spoiled son of Natalya and Arkady, share the final scene with his German tutor, Schaff, which becomes a sort of recap of the comings and goings of the other star crossed characters as the two of them sit...  alone on the stage...  as Kolya learns the game of hearts! 

The Blunderers do not Blunder. This tight show works thanks in part to excellent costumes by A. Jeffrey Schoenberg.  Warning for attendees! There is still an over amped thunder clap to introduce the second act. Much too loud.   Ouch!

Three Days in the Country by Patrick Marber
Based on A Month in the Country by Ivan Turgenev
Antaeus Theatre Company
Kiki and David Gindler Performing Arts Center
110 East Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205
Through August 26, 2018
Tickets and Information:
818 506 1983
To view cast schedule.

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