"Three Days in the Country" runs through August 26, 2018 at The Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center. (Courtesy of Geoffrey Wade Photography)
Life in the country is often characterized as simple or minimalist.
But in “Three Days in the Country”, the backdrop of life in the country serves as the perfect canvas for playwright Patrick Marber to explore love and all of its complexities at virtually every part of its boundless spectrum. “Three Days in the Country” opened this weekend at the Antaeus Theatre Company in Glendale. Marber’s version is a sharp, new take on Ivan Turgenev’s classic comedy, A Month in the Country.
Set in the Russian countryside in the late 19th century, this multi-faceted love tale follows what initially seems like a love triangle between a rich, lonely wife named Natalya (played by Anna Khaja), her husband Arkady (Daniel Blinkoff) and his best friend Rakitin (Corey Brill). The triangle then becomes more of a square, then a hexagon and so on, as the arrival of Belyaev (Peter Mendoza), a hunky tutor from Moscow tasked to work with Natalya’s young son, complicates matters further between Natalya and her teen sister Vera (Chelsea Kurtz).
In “Three Days in the Country”, seemingly every type of romance is explored. Vera’s idealized version of love and marriage when she imagines a life with Belyaev is the polar opposite of the cynical take of Shpigelsky (Harry Groener) has on love when he lists the pros and cons of life together with Lizaveta (Dawn Didawick) when he proposes they marry each other for practical reasons. That scene between Shpigelsky—the elderly family doctor on the farm—and Lizaveta is arguably the funniest of the entire play. Throughout most of the play you feel a tug-of-war between the romanticized version of love and the hardened, cynical version, with everything else falling somewhere in between.
What stands out most about this play isn’t any one of the brilliant and funny actors, but rather the sharp-witted dialogue and overall chemistry that brings everything together in a tightly-packed two-plus hours. “Three Days in the Country” is the type of play that reminds you why coming out to the theater gives you an experience you can’t get anywhere else.
Performances for “Three Days in the Country” are now taking place, with performances taking place thereafter Fridays at 8 p.m. Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m., with the final performance on Aug. 26. The Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center is located at 110 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205 (between N. Grand Blvd. and Maryland Ave.).