Dianne Wiest Ventures Into Ostrovsky's Forest, Opening May 6

News   Dianne Wiest Ventures Into Ostrovsky's Forest, Opening May 6 Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest stars in a new Off-Broadway production of The Forest, the comedy by Alexander Ostrovsky, opening May 6 after previews from April 24 at Classic Stage Company's home in the East Village.
The Forest stars Dianne Wiest and Adam Driver
The Forest stars Dianne Wiest and Adam Driver Photo by Joan Marcus

Ostrovsky (1823-86) is the Russian master who prefigured Chekhov. The new translation is by Kathleen Tolan. CSC artistic director Brian Kulick directs a cast that includes Obie Award winner John Douglas Thompson, acclaimed for his recent Off-Broadway turns in Othello and The Emperor Jones. CSC is on East 13th Street in Manhattan. Performances will play to May 30.

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According to CSC, "Before Chekhov, there was Alexander 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, who last dazzled audiences at CSC opposite Alan Cumming in The Seagull, returns to the theatre in this romantic romp, where the most dangerous creatures in the forest are two vagabond actors, posing as gentry, who crash a nearby estate, turning an orderly manor upside down."

The cast also includes Adam Driver, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Herb Foster, Lisa Joyce, Lizbeth MacKay, George Morfogen, John Christopher Jones and Tony Torn.

Scenic design is by Tony Award winner Santo Loquasto, with lighting by Tony Award winner Peter Kaczorowski, costumes by Marco Piemontese, and original music and sound design by Christian Frederickson and Ryan Rumery. Wiest, who plays Raisa, appeared on Broadway in the recent All My Sons. She won the Academy Award for "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Bullets Over Broadway."

Ostrovsky is considered by many to be the father of modern Russian drama. According to CSC, "He was the first to depict on the stage the ordinary merchants, government bureaucrats and other middle-class denizens of Moscow and the Volga River region." His plays include The Bankrupt (1850), Poverty Is No Disgrace (1853), The Thunderstorm (1859) and The Snow Maiden (1873), adapted as an opera by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. He wrote almost 50 plays.

Adapter Tolan was a member of André Gregory's company, The Manhattan Project, in the early 1970s and then went on to act in theatre, TV and film. Her first play, A Weekend Near Madison, was produced in 1983 at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and subsequently in New York at the Astor Place Theatre, across the country and in Europe. Other plays include Kate's Diary (produced in New York at Playwrights Horizons and The Public), Approximating Mother (produced by The Women's Project) and Memory House (Playwrights Horizons) starring Wiest.

CSC is at 136 E. 13th Street. The Forest plays Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM.

Tickets are $70 for Tuesday-Thursday performances and $75 for Friday-Sunday performances.

For tickets and information, visit www.classicstage.org or call (866) 811-4111, or (212) 352-3101, or visit the CSC box office weekdays noon-6 PM.

Dianne Wiest and John Douglas Thompson (foreground) with the cast of <i>The Forest</i>.
Dianne Wiest and John Douglas Thompson (foreground) with the cast of The Forest. Photo by Joan Marcus
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