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Talents & Admirers by Alexander Ostrovsky Adapted by Jay Sierszyn

Raabe Theatre February 13-22, 2014

Talents and Admirers

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SET TING Late 19th Century in the fictional Bryakhimov, a provincial city on the Volga River in Russia Act One: Late morning in the first floor rented flat of Domna, Negina and Matryona Act Two: Evening, a week later, in the city park next to the theatre 10-minute INTERMISSION Act Three: The next evening, in the apartment, following the performance Act Four: The next day in the First Class waiting room of the train station CAST (IN ORDER OF APPEAR ANCE) Domna Pantelyevna, a widow...................................................................................Kimberly Neuman Matryona, house-keeper/companion to Domna.....................................................Keela Frederick Martin Prokofich Narokov, an elderly stage manager.................................Abednego Samudera Prince Irakly Dulyebov, a nobleman about town.................................................Michael Kittelson Grigori Antonich Bakin, a government official.................................................................... Kyle Marti Alexandra Nikolavna Negina (Sasha), daughter of Domna, an actress.............. Elaina Helmen Nina Vasilyevna Smelskaya, another actress..........................................................Brittany Peterson Ivan Semyonich Velikatov, a wealthy landowner................................................Kerruan Sheppard Peter Yegorich Melusov, a tutor.................................................................................Benjamin Adickes Yerast Gromilov, the tragedian........................................................................................Thomas Sebald Vasya, a young merchant, Patron of Gromilov.....................................................Zachary Stohlman Galina Petrovna Migaevna, manager of the theatre....................................... Megan Ann Jacobs Waitress at Station....................................................................................................................... Marah Nitz Train Station Matron...............................................................................................................Katlyn Rogers Station Porter..................................................................................................................... Alexander Hartin P R O D U C T I O N S TA F F Director................................................................................................................................ Prof. Jay Sierszyn Lighting Design..................................................................................................................Aaron Siegmann Costume Design...........................................................................................................MaryFran Stefanich Stage Manager......................................................................................................................... Ashley DeVos Assistant Stage Manager.................................................................................................Katelynn Bowen Props Mistress...........................................................................................................................Katlyn Rogers Costume Research..................................................................................................................... Emma Prost Costume Staff...........................................................................................................................Raquel Glinos Sound.......................................................................................... Joshua Scheibe, Franco Verges Moore Light Board Operator.............................................................................................................. Macie Laylan Theatre Dept. Resident Technical Director...............................................................Aaron Siegmann Theatre Department Faculty.................................................................... Simon Provan, Jay Sierszyn Theatre Dept. Administrative Staff....................................................Michelle East, Keela Frederick, Elaina Helmen, Kyle Marti Theatre Dept. Technical Staff..................................Ben Adickes (Shop Manager), Ashley DeVos, Brenda Kolell (Team Leader), Adam Kurth, Kaylin Pappenfuss, Katlyn Rogers (Costume Manager), Franco Verges Moore 2

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PRODUCTION NOTES Why this play? Why here? Why now? These are the guiding questions that are usually addressed in the production or director “Notes” section as a guide for the audience to have some context for the work of the production. Sorry. The answers aren’t as clear for this one, and Prof. Sierszyn replies with, “It was just love at first sight! I loved it since I first read it 16 years ago.” So, while we can certainly identify a number of recurrent themes (identity, talent, nobility, the arts and beauty) the play is not really about any of them. Many of the characters describe, what for them, is “the good life” and for some we can question whether this is a means or an end. So it kind of just comes back to what we’ve been using as a tag line for the production: what do we do for love? (The word appears 37 times in the play.) A benefit performance was a (needed) supplement to a resident company actor’s salary. The practice dates back to the Renaissance and declined by the 20th Century. Depending upon negotiations an actor may have one benefit, numerous “benefits” at regular intervals, or a “shared benefit” with another actor. There was usually a “split” of some percentage with the management and the actors often had to compensate other actors or theatre staff if they could not persuade them to volunteer their time. The use of names in Russian culture may at first be confusing. The “patronymic” or middle name (taken from one’s father’s name) is used with the first name in situations that are not intimate, yet not entirely formal. We can understand this, perhaps, as a “public” usage. The first name alone, or a diminutive (nick or pet name) may be used when people are familiar and/or in private. The last name alone is used when people are familiar or not, in public or not. Use the cast of characters for help! “There is at least one art in which women may be said not merely to rival but naturally to excel men: this is the art of acting.” –Havelock Ellis, Man and Woman, 1894 “Some [actresses of the 1890s] even made choice alliances with peers, including Belle of the sisters Binton, a variety hall singer and dancer who became the countess of Clancarty; Connie Gilchrist, a teenage burlesque dancer, later the Countess of Orkney; and Valerie Reece, another burlesque star, who become lady Meux.” --Tracy C. Davis, Actresses as Working Women, 1991

“Acting is a bum’s life. Quitting acting—that is a sign of maturity.” –Marlon Brando “There is no such thing as a great talent without great willpower.” - Honore de Balzac, 1843 “An actor is something less than a man, while an actress is something more than a woman.” -Richard Burton “The most exclusive love for someone is always a love for something else as well.” - Marcel Proust “Of all the arts that mankind has invented to clothe its concept of reality and to ornament its leisure moments, none is more suited to the genius of the female of the species than that of the theatre. –Rosamond Gilder, 1931 “He who desires nothing, hopes for nothing, and is afraid of nothing cannot be an artist.” -Anton Chekhov Talents and Admirers

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PLAY WRIGHT AND PLAY Alexander Ostrovsky was born in Moscow in 1823 and died in 1886—five years after writing Talents and Admirers. His father was in the civil service, and technically a nobleman, but his grandfather was a priest. Alexander became a nobleman through marriage, yet through his plays was regarded as being an authentic voice of the merchant and civil servant classes. He was, more than anything else, a man of the theatre—managing a company and administrating a school as well as being a prolific playwright (more than 50 plays and translations). For these reasons he is sometimes referred to as the “Shakespeare” of Russian theatre and the Maly Theatre in Moscow is known as “The House of Ostrovsky.” He therefore had a keen sensibility of the characters that inhabit Talents and Admirers. He knew only too well the conditions of serving one’s art, having a family, paying the bills and constantly seeking moral and financial support. Ostrovsky’s plays depict these colorfully bold and yet nuanced characters that are familiar even across the geo-political landscape and these 130 years later. Talents and Admirers was an enormous success upon its opening in December of 1881 and continued in production for years. It is still a favorite of the Maly Theatre in Moscow today. Two leading actresses of the day—Maria Savina (St. Petersburg) and Maria Yermalova (Moscow) each performed the role in striking contrast. It could be said that one (Yermalova) regarded the play as a tragedy—Negina made decisions and consequently, unhappily, had to live with them; while the other interpretation was that Negina lives happily ever after with her true love.

BIOGR APHIES Ben Adickes (Peter) with his devotion to this Russian gem, nears the culmination of his current career segment. He’s come a long way since his first leading role four years ago (Raleigh, in Last Train to Nibroc) and hopes that he continues to learn, grow, and develop as a Christian actor for as long as the Lord permits. Katelynn Bowen (Assistant Stage Manager) grew up in McNaughton, Wisconsin where she enjoys God’s beauty of creation and writing under the quiet wind of the trees. As a freshman, she is considering majoring in English and taking a minor in Psychology. This is her first opportunity to participate in any sort of performance and is curious to both learn and experience something new, interesting, and joyous for her. Kate is thankful for the chance and time spent with all the amazing people taking part in Talents and Admirers. 4

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Ashley DeVos (Stage Manager) is a sophomore Art major and has been a part of five previous productions at WLC, most recent being The Importance of Being Earnest (as Master Electrician), and Becky’s New Car, as Stage Manager. She would like to thank all who have supported her through the process, and the audience for coming to see the production. Keela Frederick (Matryona) is a sophomore Theatre and Psychology major. This will be her sixth time taking part in a WLC production, most recently appearing as Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest. She hopes that this play resonates with everyone who has had a passion. Many thanks go to Jay, the cast, and her incredibly supportive family.


BIOGR APHIES

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Raquel Glinos (Costume Assistant) is a freshman with an intended major in Elementary Education (her passion has always been to be a teacher) and a minor in Theatre. This is her first production at WLC and she wants to express her love of all aspects of theatre: being in the audience, backstage and performing. Theatre is a big part of my life I love it and it will always be with me no matter what. Enjoy the show! Alexander Hartin (Porter)is a freshman Psychology major from Milwaukee, and this is his debut (non-high school) performance. Offstage, Alexander immerses himself in his studies and work, but most enjoys a good story, a cup of coffee, and late nights with his best friends. He would like to thank his family and friends for always supporting his theatrical pursuits. Elaina Helmen (Negina) is ecstatic to be the lead in a main-stage production so soon in her college career. She has done tech in two previous shows, but returning to the stage is where she feels she truly belongs, and the passion she demonstrates for her acting craft is driven by the desire to constantly improve her skills. Megan Ann Jacobs (Migeavna) is excited to fittingly brave the crazy Wisconsin cold in this quirky Russian comedy. Her most recent Raabe role was Becky, in Becky’s New Car, and she is anxiously awaiting the debut of this production. Megan is a junior majoring in Theatre and wishes to thank the cast and

crew for their commitment, creativity, and collaboration (and hugs, especially the hugs!) during this production. Michael Kittelson (Prince) is a junior Communications major and is delighted to take on such a character as the Prince. You may have seen him in recent WLC productions such as Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 or BeeLuther-Hatchee. This is his seventh production at WLC and cannot wait to partake in many more. He would like to thank his mother for her continuous love and support. Kyle Marti (Bakin) is a sophomore studying German for International Business. Kyle’s acting career started at the Lake Country Players in Hartland Wisconsin when Kyle played the role of Schwartz in A Christmas Story. Kyle did many more productions at Lake Country Players and acted all throughout high school. You may have seen Kyle as a narrator in Bending of the Bow, Assistant Stage Manager for Becky’s New Car, or as a member of the WLC Improv Troupe. Kyle would like to thank all of his friends and family for all of their encouragement. God’s blessings and enjoy the show! Marah Nitz (Waitress) is from New Berlin, Wisconsin. She is double majoring in Psychology and Theatre. This is her first production being on stage at WLC, but she was the sound board operator for The Importance of Being Earnest. She is so stoked to be moving up in the world and loved working with the entire cast and crew.

Talents and Admirers

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BIOGR APHIES

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Kimberly Neuman (Domna) is enjoying her third year of study for a double major in Theatre and English. She is known for performing adult characters and working in the fields of dramaturgy and costumes. When not in the theatre you may find her performing vocal music, writing stories and poetry, reading British literature, and speaking in puns. Kimberly thanks the company and audience for the complete theatrical experience. Brittany Peterson (Nina) is a junior Business Administration major. This is her third time on the WLC stage, previously appearing in Bee-Luther-Hatchee and Becky’s New Car. She appreciates the WLC Theatre Department and the opportunities to work with others who are so dedicated and passionate for the arts. She is thankful for her family and friends’ continuing support. Emma Prost (Costume Research) is a junior majoring in English literature, is happy to assist in the research of costuming for this show. She has previously played roles from Shakespeare to E. B. White, performing in many high school productions and competing successfully in the Forensics categories. She was most recently seen as Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest. Katlyn Rogers (Matron/ Props Mistress) is a freshman this year, and plans to major in Theatre. She recently appeared as a scenechanger in The Importance of Being Earnest. She would like to thank the cast, crew, and director for all their hard work, and for letting her be a part of a marvelous experience. Please enjoy the show! 6

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Abednego Samudera (Martin) is a junior this year, and has appeared in five Raabe productions, most recently as Algernon Moncrieff in The Importance of Being Earnest. Past credits include: New York, The Winter’s Tale, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, and Becky’s New Car. He is looking forward towards the shift into a new character, and would like to thank his family, friends, and all the cast/ staff members of the WLC theatre department for their continuous support. Thomas Sebald (Tragedian) is a sophomore and this is his fifth time on the WLC stage, appearing in The Bending of the Bow, BeeLuther-Hatchee, Becky’s New Car, and last in The Importance of Being Earnest as John ‘Earnest’ Worthing. No actual vodka was used in the making of this performance. Lots of love to his family in Phoenix, Arizona, and to all of the talents and admirers out there; this is for you. Soli Deo Gloria. Kerruan Sheppard (Ivan) is a freshman and appearing in his second show at WLC. The role of Ivan is very different from his recent role in The Importance of Being Earnest. He is excited to be a part of this show. He plans to major in Elementary Education and minor in Theatre education or just Theatre. He just wants to give a big thank you to Jay and the cast for being the amazing group of people they are. Zachary Stohlman (Vasya) is a freshman excited to take to the stage for the first time. He plans on double majoring in Music and Theatre with a possible minor in Theology.


D E PA R TM E N T S TAT E M E N T S The curriculum and activities of the Theatre Department are designed to explore, investigate and develop the creative process and cultural significance of story-telling in performance. We foster an integrated liberal arts approach distinguished by breadth in theatre study and a focus on analytical, critical, and creative thinking—especially with regard to the role of theatre in community and the application of theatre-related skills, knowledge and attitudes to many areas of life. The Major and Minor programs in theatre prepare students through a foundational understanding of the Lutheran doctrine of vocation that all labors are to be in service to one’s neighbor. To that end, the theatre program endeavors to prepare Christ-centered professional and amateur actors, artists, practitioners, managers and educators whose leadership and impact, we pray, will be significant today and tomorrow. The production programs of the department offer numerous co- and extra-curricular opportunities for all students in the college. It is our vision that through engagement with vital theatre experiences all of our students will seek to thrive as active audience members for the rest of their lives—contributing to, and therefore affecting, the broader culture in which we live. Theatre can play a role in a culture or community’s understanding of themselves and others around them. Producing theatre which is vital in a community requires exploring topics and presenting works that attempt to be truthful or seek truth—for some, many, or all of us. We certainly do not select content intending to offend, yet we acknowledge that the topic of drama is always humans, which we know are in a sinful condition—one that needs repair. Our characters and their circumstances are of a given, fictional situation—a part of a larger story—they are less often models for Christian living. It is our hope that each and every person in the audience be provoked intellectually and emotionally to consider their own life in response to the world of the play, and that the reflection and discussion continues beyond the theatre doors.

ABOUT WISCONSIN LUTHER AN COLLEGE In 2013, Wisconsin Lutheran College celebrated 40 years of providing quality teaching, scholarship, and service that are rooted in Holy Scripture; promoting the spiritual growth of students, faculty, and staff; and preparing students for lives of Christian leadership. Wisconsin Lutheran College, which is ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in the nation by U. S. News & World Report, offers 37 undergraduate majors and five preprofessional programs. In addition, a Master of Arts in Education and adult degree completion programs are available both on campus and online. Visit wlc.edu/admissions to explore the programs offered by Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Our current total enrollment is 1178 with a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. The average undergraduate class size at WLC is 17; in Theatre classes it is 10. Two-thirds of the undergraduates live on-campus and hail from 29 states and 10 foreign countries. The current freshman class had a high school GPA average of 3.42 (2.70 minimum for admission) and an ACT of 24 (21 minimum for admission). 99% of full-time students are awarded some type of financial aid (priority given to FAFSA applications received by March 1). Theatre Scholarships are awarded to incoming students and may be renewed throughout the student’s time at WLC. Audition and interview day is February 22. Talents and Admirers

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NEXT PRODUCTION

In Spite of Thunder: The Macbeth Project A de-/re-constructed look at “The Scottish Play.” By William Shakespeare Adapted by Suzan Zeder & Jim Hancock Directed by Simon Provan April 4-12, 2014 Wisconsin Premiere! An invigorating look at Shakespeare’s classic study of the thirst for power and the cycle of violence which follows such ambition. Jim Hancock and award-winning playwright Suzan Zeder have de- and re-constructed Shakespeare’s original text, reassigning speeches and intersecting scenes. The result is a compact, tense journey from the first breath of the witches through the last breath of the mercurial king. Several actors portray the fated Scottish King and his co-conspiring wife, creating a refreshing accessibility to this Shakespearean tragedy. Of the original (and only previous) production, Alan Scherstuhl in The Pitch wrote, “Scenes came at us like confetti launched from a cannon, sometimes in simultaneous montage.”

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