Colleges students will perform Russian play about greed and intrigue
(Oct. 19, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y.–Students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges will present Maxim Gorky's play “Vassa Zheleznova” at 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 21, 22 and 23, in Bartlett Theatre in Coxe Hall on the Colleges' campus. Admission is free to HWS students, and general admission is $5.
Gorky, considered the father of Soviet literature, was hailed by Chekhov as the voice of his time. Written in 1935, this play is set in Russia in 1905, and is about greed, intrigue and dysfunction in a merchant family. Subtitled “The Mother” and hugely controversial at the time of its first production, “Vassa Zheleznova” is a tragic portrait of a woman with an iron will determined to root out the corruption in her family in order to keep control of the family business.
Kelly Burke, a senior from Thornton, Colo., who plays the lead role calls Vassa “entirely unapologetic.” “There's a hardness to her, a drive that I find very exciting and challenging. She's also twice my age, which has been an interesting mental and physical challenge. She has this wonderful edge. I love it and have learned a lot from it.”
Burke encourages all to attend the performance.
“The entire cast is a really wonderful group of people. I think the play is exciting in that it bridges the gap between 1905 and today. Family, politics, survival–these things are as important now as they were a century ago. They all get a little twisted in Vassa, but they're still recognizable,” Burke says.
Other cast members include: Quinn Hurley, a junior from Wildwood Crest, N.J., as Sergei, her husband; Benjamine Mason, a first-year from Alna, Maine, as Prokhor, her brother; Amillie Coster, a junior from Stockbridge, Mass., as Natalya, her daughter; Sarah Walsh, a sophomore from West Chazy, N.Y., as Lyudmilla, her daughter; Katharine Sanford, a first-year from Canisteo, N.Y., as Rachel, her daughter-in-law; Danisha Holcomb, a first-year from Johnson City, N.Y., as Anna, her secretary; Julius Ferraro, first-year from Philadelphia, Pa., as Melnikov, her tenant; Jonah Levy, a first-year from Brooklyn, N.Y., as Evgeny, her tenant's son; Nathan Taxel, a sophomore from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, as Krotkikh, her manager; Jamie Agnello, a sophomore from Oil City, Pa., as Liza, her maid; Elspeth Scott, first-year from Great Falls, Va., as Polya, her maid; and Peter Marciano, a first-year from Syracuse, N.Y., as Pyatyorkin, her servant.
“Vassa Zheleznova” is presented by special arrangement with Methuen Drama.