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THE FOREST OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: May 7, 2010
Synopsis: Academy Award-winning actress Dianne Wiest returns to CSC in Alexander Ostrovsky's The Forest, adapted by Kathleen Tolan. Before Chekhov, there was Ostrovsky, Russia's first great theatrical reformer, who forged comedy and drama into a remarkably rich theatrical mix, paving the way for a generation of modern Russian playwrights. Wiest will star in this romantic romp, where the most dangerous creatures in the forest are two vagabond actors who crash a nearby estate posing as gentry. Love, lies and laughter ensue as they turn this otherwise orderly manor upside down.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"The setting is an estate in the Russian countryside in the 19th century. The dramatis personae include landed aristocrats, their bourgeois neighbors, peasants and servants. The story concerns the fate of a plot of land and the dissatisfactions of love."
"When it comes to 19th-century Rus sian playwrights, Chekhov is it, at least in New York. So hopes were raised when Classic Stage Company decided to give his contemporary Alexander Ostrovsky a prestige production led by Dianne Wiest.
"Ever wonder where New York's theatrical aristocracy goes to play? Dianne Wiest has been known to grace the stage of CSC, a not-for-profit house that dependably finds her a juicy role to make her happy, quality creatives to support her, and maybe a little something to challenge her. Applied here, the formula showcases the two-time Oscar and Emmy winner in "The Forest," a 19th century Russian classic by Alexander Ostrovsky with the kind of character roles that attract both established divas and rising stars like John Douglas Thompson, who gave a dazzling perf last year in "Othello.""
"Echoes of Shakespeare and Moliere and a foreshadowing of Anton Chekhov's plays are heard and seen in Alexander Ostrovsky's The Forest, currently playing at Classic Stage Company. Given how infrequently this 19th-century playwright's work reaches New York's stages, the production is a notable one, even though a host of excellent performances never fully mask the play's ungainly tonal shifts. "
"This is one of the first seasons in a while without a Broadway or Off-Broadway revival of a Chekhov play. The Russian doctor who found the time to diagnose and write about his countrymen's personal lives as well as the state of their health is an enduring audience favorite. Actors are drawn to his characters as they are to Shakespeare's, so are translators and directors. Consequently, even though steady theater patrons have seen their share of the bored, bored, bored trio of sisters and frustrated Uncle Vanyas, self-absorbed Mesdames Arkadina and Ranevskaya there's always another must-see Chekhovian jewel. "
"A 19th century Russian comedy satirizing the nobility and featuring a forest that will all too symbolically be cut down. No, it's not "The Cherry Orchard" but "The Forest," by Alexander Ostrovsky. Predating the Chekhov classic by more than three decades, this rarely performed work by one of Russia's most influential playwrights (1823-1886) is receiving a well-deserved revival by the Classic Stage Company. "
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