A Different Kind of Theatre
Photos By Diane Anderson
Written By Carrie Edelstein
Rebel and Misfits Productions is into its third show with The Immersive Theatre Project. “Uncle Vanya: Valiantly Accepting Next Year’s Agony,” is beautifully directed by Kelly Hummert at a charming home in Ladue. Attendees arrive for tea and cakes only to realize they are actually dining with the actors who will soon be launching right into Anton Chekhov’s play.
“Uncle Vanya” follows an elderly professor and his young, glamorous second wife, Yelena, to a rural estate, causing the desires and tempers of those residing there to flare. Matters are brought to a crisis when the professor announces his selfish intention to sell the estate and characters’ desperation sets in.
Hummert is the artistic director of Rebel and Misfits, and has been busy creating immersive theatrical experiences for St. Louis audiences in diverse and unusual locations. Her goal is for audiences to enjoy a new, daring way to experience theatre.
“Immersive theatre is an exciting way to explore plays in another light,” said Hummert. “Destroying the line between actors and spectators thrills me. When you jump into an immersive experience, you become completely invested in the story because you’re a part of it. With 'Uncle Vanya,' we’ve found a new and creative way to immerse spectators in this iconic Chekhov play. Our interpretation is designed for devotees of Chekhov as well as those looking for an introduction into his work and unique worldview.”
The tight ensemble features a talented local cast: Jim Butz as Astrov, Andrew Michael Neiman as Vanya, Peter Mayer as The Professor, Sophia Brown as Yelena, Francesca Ferrari as Sonya, Donna Weinsting as Marina, Kent Coffel as Telegin, and Suzanne Greenwald as Mrs. Voitensky.
Tickets for “Uncle Vanya: Valiantly Accepting Next Year’s Agony” are $45 with a discounted price of $30 for college students with a valid student ID. All participants must be age 18+. Audience members should be ready to move during some key scenes but will mostly remain in one area where seating consists of sofas, chaise lounges and pillows. More information is available at www.theimmersivetheatreproject.com.