Zelda Fichandler has directed more than 50 plays, but recently, audiences might know her name only because it graces a theatre in Washington DC's Arena Stage, and because across four decades, she produced more than 375 shows at Arena.
Fichandler, winner of a National Medal Of Arts (awarded by President Clinton), returned to her "home" to stage Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, Dec. 12. The show opened Dec. 17 and ends its run Sunday, Jan. 18.
She'll be using the Carol Rocamora translation of Vanya, of which Fichandler says, "Here is everything of Chekhov: his unadorned language, his emotional rhythms, his compassion laced with irony and humor, his sharply differentiated characters and his thoughts of the heart. They speak in the tongue of the original, and so are meant to be put on the stage."
Starring in the Arena staging are Charles Janasz (Vanya), Henry Strozier, Tom Hewitt (Off-Broadway's Jeffrey), Delany Williams, Wendell Wright, Marcie Hubert (Marina), Dorothea Hammond, Angel Desai (Sonya) and Melissa King.
Designing Vanya are Tony-winner Ming Cho Lee (set), Lindsay W. Davis (costumes), Nancy Schertler (lighting) and Timothy M. Thompson (sound). Michelle T. Hall and Cathy Madison are serving as dramaturgs. Other plays by Chekhov include The Three Sisters, which Fichandler staged in 1984, Ivanov (currently on Broadway) and The Cherry Orchard.
For tickets ($24-$45) and information on Uncle Vanya at Arena's Fichandler Stage call (202) 488-3300.
-- By David Lefkowitz