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Darien resident in Town Players' opening production

Published 4:56 pm, Monday, November 12, 2012
  • The Town Players of New Canaanís fall show, Ivan Turgenevís comedy drama "A Month in the Country" begins with a card game played by John Pyron, Lorelei Young Atwood and Cynthia Sepe. Photo: Contributed
    The Town Players of New Canaanís fall show, Ivan Turgenevís comedy drama "A Month in the Country" begins with a card game played by John Pyron, Lorelei Young Atwood and Cynthia Sepe. Photo: Contributed

 

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Darien resident Cynthia Sepe plays Anna in the Town Players of New Canaan's production of Ivan Turgenev's comedy-drama "A Month in the Country," which opens the company's 66th season.

The play opens with a card game played by Schaaf, the German tutor, Lizaveta, Anna's companion, and Anna, Islayev's elderly mother.

Using Ariadne Nicolaeff's 1976 translation that captures Turgenev's subtle wit and bittersweet poignancy,

performances will take place on Nov. 15, 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. and on Nov. 18 at 2:30 p.m. at the Powerhouse Theatre in Waveny Park, 677 South Ave., New Canaan.

Sepe recalls her first stage appearance was as Piglet at Low-Haywood School in the fourth grade. More recently, she appeared as Felicity in "The Shadow Box" in Wilton, and Mrs. Dubose at Curtain Call in "To Kill A Mockingbird." Her last appearance with the Town Players was as the Mother Superior in "Agnes of God."

Michael Kopko, who is co-artistic director of the White Heron Theatre Company on Nantucket, is the director of "A Month in the Country."

Set in the Russia of the mid-1840s, decades before the turmoil of the Russian revolution, the play takes as its autobiographical sources Turgenev's love of the Russian countryside life, his wry perception of the human condition, and the unrequited love of his mistress and muse, Pauline Viardot, one of 19th-century France's most celebrated mezzo sopranos.

The time is languorous summer, when the human heart can throb with, hope for, plot for, or discover love. The play takes place at the Islayev's country estate. Natalya Petrovna, the lady of the house, as well as her ward Vera, are each infatuated with Belyayev, the Islayev's son's tutor. Natalya is also at odds with her platonic admirer Rakitin and bored with her husband. Like layers of a proverbial Russian onion, these loves and many others are revealed in this charming, wise and funny play.

New Canaan actors Lynne Bolton and Don Olson will appear, respectively, as the bored, coquettish, vengeful and confused Natalya, an aristocratic married woman who has never been in love before, and the lovelorn Rakitin. Greg Barone of Stamford will portray Belyayev whose summertime presence as the tutor disturbs domestic tranquility. Phil Hahn of Stamford will play Islayev, Natlaya's solid as a rock landowner husband, who is much smarter than appearances convey.

Turgenev adds to the mix the machinations leading to the marriage of four working people. Dr. Shpigelsky (Gary Battaglia of Wilton), a sly, sardonic man who harbors hope for married life; Lizaveta (Lorelei Young Atwood of Westport), the spinster companion to Islayev's elderly mother; the innocent Vera (Ammie Renee Kinsman of Westport), also in love for the first time and vilely manipulated by Natalya; and Bolshintsov (Patrick Kiley of Fairfield), the well-to-do, good-natured, slow-witted and timid landowner who makes a deal with Shpigelsky to be his go-between to gain young Vera's hand in marriage. Veteran actor John Pyron of Fairfield appears as the German tutor Schaaf.

Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors (62 and above) and students. For tickets, call 203-966-7371.