Chicago's Greasy Joan Conflates Chekhov Stories for Premiere of Life in the Country

News   Chicago's Greasy Joan Conflates Chekhov Stories for Premiere of Life in the Country
Greasy Joan & Co., known for producing innovative productions of classic plays in Chicago, will begin its 13th year of new work Nov. 7-Dec. 21 with the world premiere of Chekhov's Life in the Country, drawn from short works by Russian master Anton Chekhov.

The stories were translated by Paul Schmidt, Ryan McKittrick and Julia Smeliansky. Greasy Joan's interim artistic director Libby Ford directs.

Performances will play Chicago's Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Opening is Nov. 9.

According to production notes, "Greasy Joan & Co. explores Chekhov in a hilarious and poignant romp that illustrates the life, love and lunacy of living in the country. Longed-for love, the claustrophobia of modern life, and the madness that keeps us apart from one another."

Chekhov's Life in the Country features the classic short story "Lady with a Lapdog" woven around three comedies: "The Proposal," "The Reluctant Tragic Hero" and "Dangers of Tobacco."

In "The Proposal," a suitor's attempt to marry his neighbor's daughter violently derails as the trio obsessively quarrels over age-old land disputes and trivial minutia. Elsewhere, a married man ("The Reluctant Tragic Hero") explodes with frustration over the complications of leading a leisurely country life while keeping a job in the city. "The Dangers of Tobacco" follows a family man's attempt to lecture on the evils of smoking as it careens off the rails, cataloging his fury over his lot in life. Winding through these pieces is an adaptation of Chekhov's short story "Lady with a Lapdog," tracing aging lothario Gurov's shattering love affair with a married woman that awakens him to the depth and feeling of true love just as it exposes him to the pain of a love limited by circumstance. The cast includes Ilana Faust (Anna), Jason Huysman (Gurov), Neal Starbird (Lomov & Murashkin), Matthew Serbach (Cubukov & Nyukhin), Josh Sumner (Tolkachov) and Greasy Joan Affiliated Artist Kristina Klemetti (Natalia).

The production team includes Michelle Warner (sets), Lindsey Pate (costumes), Ryan Davies (lights), Tim Hill (sound/music), LaRonika Thomas (dramaturg) and Sarah Idzik (stage manager).

For ticket information call (773) 404-7336 or visit


Greasy Joan & Co., which "re-imagines classic plays for the contemporary stage," was founded in 1995 by a group of graduates from Harvard University's American Repertory Theater training program. For more information visit

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