Lightning Strikes

presents

THE VIY

Written and Directed by RICHARD HARLAND SMITH

Adapted from the story by NIKOLAI GOGOL

 

HERE Arts Center, March 17 through April 10, 2004

www.here.org, www.lightningstrikes.org

 

Lighting Design NOEMI MILLMAN

Production Design BETSY FOLDES, HANK MEINMAN

Production Stage Manager JACQUELINE C. NOGUERA

Costume Coordinator LOU KYLIS

Press Representation KAREN GRECO ENTERTAINMENT

 

Cast

The Cossack – Tom Cappadona

Khoma Brut – Jeremy Schwartz

Gorobets – Jarrod Spector

Khalyava – Jeff Buckner

The Old Crone – Julie Whitney

The Dead Girl – Michelle Maryk

Brother Pythegor – Michael Cuomo

Brother Piro – Karl Jacob

Brother Grigory – Stephen Aloi

Spirid – Roy Bacon

Overko – John McDermott

Dorosh – Leo Byrne Jenicek

The Idiot – Mikhail Pogul

Gapka – Lou Kylis

Lyudmilla – Julie Hera

Barbara – Suzanne Levinson

Choub – Jamie Askew

Wayward clergy, the undead, witches, wandering eyes and demonic possession are but a few of the themes visited in Richard Harland Smith’s adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s THE VIY. Seems like standard fare from the description, until one notes that this offbeat interpretation is essentially a modern comedy in Sixteenth Century clothing. The results are often witty, indeed.

THE VIY is an unlikely hit, but there is something about the peculiarly ancient-modern combination of sensibilities and styles that combines to splendid effect. Enhanced production values may have helped, but the stark setting, including a score of actor-produced ambient sound effects, does nothing, essentially, to undermine the tale of Khoma Brut, his battle between the realms of base lust and godly celibacy, and his unwitting mission to attend, for three nights, the body of one undead girl. Full of folk, flirtation, and a winning combination of eras-at-odds, this most unlikely of adaptations, craftily constructed by Richard Harland Smith, brings the Sixteenth Century into full 21st Century glory.

Silly, sensual, and hinting at those heavy morality tales of yore, the story at the heart of THE VIY is mildly philosophical entertainment aimed at a most modern audience. Experience. Explore. Enjoy. If so inspired, research as well.

- Kessa De Santis -

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