June 01, 2018

Chekhov in the 21st Century: A Symposium

The Symposium, organized by the Lewis & Clark Theatre faculty Rebecca Lingafelter and Štĕpán Šimek in collaboration with the Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, will feature readings of Professor Šimek’s new translations of Three SistersUncle VanyaThe Seagull and The Cherry Orchard.  In addition there will be presentations and panel discussions on Chekhov in contemporary translation, Chekhov’s dramaturgy, Chekhov in performance, and Chekhov in contemporary Russia with scholars and artists from across the country.

The Symposium, organized by the Lewis & Clark Theatre faculty Rebecca Lingafelter and Štĕpán Šimek in collaboration with the Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, will feature readings of Professor Šimek’s new translations of Three SistersUncle VanyaThe Seagull and The Cherry Orchard.  In addition there will be presentations and panel discussions on Chekhov in contemporary translation, Chekhov’s dramaturgy, Chekhov in performance, and Chekhov in contemporary Russia with scholars and artists from across the country.

Speakers and presenters include: Misha Berson (Seattle Times, American Theatre), Mark Jenkins (University of Washington, Seagull Project), Lue Douthit (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Dmitry Troyanovsky (Russian director/translator), Yuri Corrigan (Boston University, Harvard), John Schmor (University of Oregon), Daniel Pollack-Pelzner (Linfield College), Benjamin Fainstein (Portland Center Stage), Stefka Mihaylova (Seattle), The Seagull Project (Seattle), and a keynote speech by Libby Appel (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Full bios of guest speakers and presenters below.

Readings will be produced by Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE), and will include performances from local favorites including Isaac Lamb (Every Brilliant Thing), Del Lewis (The Nether), Victor Mack (How I learned, what I learned), Maureen Porter (The Events), Chris Murray (Astoria), Nick Ferrucci (Luna Gale), Mike O’Connell (The Thanksgiving Play), Damaris Webb (Vanport Mosaic), Ben Newman (Astoria), Chantal DeGroat (Twilight: Los Angeles), Gavin Hoffman (Major Barbara) along with PETE company members Jacob Coleman, Rebecca Lingafelter, Cristi Miles and Amber Whitehall. 

All events are free and open to the public.


Free reservations are available for all panels, presentations, and readings. Making a reservation helps ensure you have a seat, and helps us know how many guests to expect.

All events take place at the Fir Acres Theatre on the Lewis & Clark campus. 


Participant Bios

Libby Appel (Keynote Speaker) is currently the Artistic Director Emerita of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She was the artistic director of OSF from 1995 through 2007 where she directed 30 plays. Prior to that she was the artistic director of Indiana Repertory Theatre for 4 years and Dean and Artistic director of the School of Theatre at California Institute of the Arts. She was also head of the acting program at California State University, Long Beach and taught acting at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. Libby has directed in theaters throughout the country doing over 30 productions of Shakespeare’s plays and all of Chekhov’s plays. She has recently completed five new translations of Chekhov’s plays along with Russian to English translator, Allison Horsley. The translations are now available in a new book, Five Chekhov Plays, which include Ivanov, Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. She is the author of Mask Characterization: An Acting Process, and co-created and produced the video Inter/Face: The Actor and The Mask. She also co-created two plays, Shakespeare’s Women and Shakespeare’s Lovers. She is profiled, because of her deep love and extraordinary practice with the works of Anton Chekhov, in the documentary Meeting With Chekhov (a Coffee and Language film). Libby has honorary doctorates from Southern Oregon University, University of Portland and Willamette University. She has an MA from Northwestern University and a BA from the University of Michigan (Phi Beta Kappa). She is the recipient of the Stephen and Christine Schwarzman Award for Excellence: Lifetime Achievement in Theater which was awarded at the Kennedy Center in 2010.

Yuri Corrigan (Speaker) studies the intersections of literature, philosophy, religion, and psychology in nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century Russian, European, and American culture – with a focus on the Russian nineteenth century. His book, Dostoevsky and the Riddle of the Self (forthcoming in 2017) traces Dostoevsky’s artistic meditation on the human being as it took shape over the course of his career and as it laid the groundwork for psychoanalytic, existentialist, and postmodernist thought while attempting to preserve religious notions of self, soul, and spirit for a post-religious age. He is currently working on two new book projects, the first a series of contemporary literary dialogues with Dostoevsky, titled The Afterlife of Religion, which explores how contemporary novelists (such as Donna Tartt, Elena Ferrante, and Marilynne Robinson, among others) have drawn on Dostoevsky’s works in reanimating religious ideas in a secular context; the second, Reading Chekhov as a Guide to Russian Philosophy explores Chekhov’s writing as a prism for the crises of moral philosophy in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Dmitry Troyanovsky (Speaker) stages productions, teaches, leads workshops, and develops new theatrical material at national and international institutions such as Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center (China), Opera Idaho, Bard Music Festival, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Baryshnikov Arts Center, American Repertory Theatre Institute, Shanghai Theatre Academy, Moscow Art Theatre School, Segal Theatre Center (CUNY), 92 Street Y in New York, Brown University, Brandeis Theatre Company, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, American Lyric Theatre, and Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. Notable projects include a Chinese language production of Sara Kane’s play 4:48 Psychosis at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center and the Russian language premier of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love at the Pushkin Theatre in Moscow. Dmitry’s production of The Discreet Charm of Monsieur Jourdain (based on Moliere’s work) was invited to the IV Moscow International Theatre Festival “Your Chance.”

Mark Jenkins (Panelist/Presenter) Professor, has had a long professional career in New York, Hollywood, and regional theatres around the country. He made his professional debut with the New York Shakespeare Festival and has worked on Broadway and off-Broadway. His film and television credits include The Andromeda Strain, Riverrun, Apocalypse Now; guest starring roles on many major television series: Hawaii Five-0, Then Came Bronson, Medical Center, The FBI, Barnaby Jones, etc. Regional theatre roles include playing Biff in Death of a Salesman at Seattle Rep, Still Life, Husbandry, and The Waverly Gallery at The Empty Space Theatre; The Wild Duck, A Doll’s House, Duet for One and The Seahorse at Intiman, Cat’s Paw at the Old Globe, etc. He played Hans Blix in the 2007 production of David Hare’s Stuff Happens at ACT in Seattle and plays an ex-KGB spy in the forthcoming feature The Spy and the Sparrow, recently shown at the Seattle International Film Festival.; He is a life-time member of the Actors Studio and co-founded Seattle’s Freehold Theatre Lab in 1991. He has collaborated with Russian Stanislavski master Leonid Anisimov in Russia, Japan and the U.S. and with the Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent Uzbekistan. He was instrumental in bringing the Ilkhom Theatre company to Seattle’s ACT Theatre and to the UW in the spring of 2008 and is returning to Ilkhom to work and teach in the summer of 2009. His McCarthy era play All Powers Necessary and Convenient has been produced by the School of Drama and was published by the University of Washington Press.

Misha Berson (Panelist/Presenter) was the chief theatre critic for The Seattle Times for 25 years. Now a freelance writer and teacher, her work appears in The Seattle Times, American Theatre and other publications, and she is the author of four books, most recently “Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination”.

Lue Morgan Douthit (Panelist/Presenter) is the Director of Literary Development and Dramaturgy at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is the Dramaturg for this season’s production of Head Over Heels by Jeff Whitty with music and lyrics by the Go-Gos. During her twenty-one seasons at OSF, Lue has been the Production Dramaturg for more than forty productions, including thirteen world premieres: A Wrinkle in TimeFamily AlbumThe UnfortunatesThe Tenth MuseWillFulThrone of Blood;EquivocationDon QuixoteWelcome Home, Jenny SutterTracy’s TigerBy the Waters of BabylonContinental Divide; and The Magic Fire). She has also worked on over a dozen Shakespeare productions. She is the co-adapter of the six-actor Macbeth and seven-actor Measure for Measure, which were both produced at OSF and elsewhere. She was the co-producer of the Black Swan Lab (2009) and then soon after produced Black Swan Lab (2010–2014). Lue is the recipient of the 1999 Literary Manager & Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) Prize in Dramaturgy and The Elliott Hayes Award. She received her PhD at the University of Washington, her MFA from Trinity University, and her MA from University of Arizona.


The Seagull Project (Presenting Company, The Bear) was founded in 2011 with the express purpose of bringing the works of Anton Chekhov to life. Using a custom-built, eighteen-month workshop structure, the twenty-six-person ensemble highlights the process necessary to bring light to such full-bodied art. Working in partnership with ACTLab, The Seagull Project presented its first production, The Seagull, in Seattle in 2013, then toured the critically acclaimed production to the Ilkholm Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Its 2015 production of The Three Sisters earned the Gregory Award for Outstanding Production the same year, and it’s 2017 The Cherry Orchard won People’s Choice: Outstanding Production. Uncle Vanya will premiere at ACT Theatre in 2019, and the company will produce all four major plays in repertory in 2020.

Daniel Pollack-Pelzner (Panelist/Presenter) joined the Linfield faculty in 2010 and teaches in English and Gender Studies. He received his PhD from Harvard, where he helped to edit the Norton edition of Shakespeare’s complete works. His Shakespeare courses focus on the intersections of gender, genre, and performance; he also teaches a range of topics in British literary history, including the Victorian novel, and he offers a January-term course on contemporary theater through the Portland campus. He is the recipient of a Graves Award for outstanding teaching in the humanities. Dr. Pollack-Pelzner’s research explores Shakespeare adaptations: how writers transform Shakespeare’s model into literary forms that speak to their own cultural moment–and shape what we mean by “Shakespeare” today. He has published about representations of interiority in Shakespeare and the British novel in ELH: English Literary History, SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, and Victorian Studies. He is currently researching theater projects that translate Shakespeare’s plays into contemporary English and adapt Shakespeare’s model to represent American history. An Oregon native, Dr. Pollack-Pelzner lectures frequently at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and is the scholar-in-residence at the Portland Shakespeare Project, as well as a consulting scholar for Age and Gender Equity in the Arts. He is also a member of the faculty at the University of California Dickens Project and is the Shakespeare Scholar for the Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association. His articles on Shakespeare and contemporary culture have appeared recently in The New Yorker, Slate, Public Books, and The New York Times.

Benjamin Fainstein (Panelist/Presenter) is the literary manager at Portland Center Stage at The Armory and head of dramaturgy for JAW: A Playwrights Festival. He is currently developing new plays with writers Lauren Yee, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Dan O’Brien, and James Beaton. Selected dramaturgy credits include Astoria: Parts One & Two​ (Portland Center Stage), Sarah Sander’s Golden (MIDD Summer Play Lab), Kevin Artigue’s The Forcings (JAW), Meg Miroshnik’s The Tall Girls (Carlotta Festival of New Plays), and Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand (Yale Repertory Theatre & Berkeley Repertory Theatre). As a playwright, director, and collaborative theatre maker, Benjamin has created numerous original works, including Carnival/Invisible, The Body Politic, Cat Club, Iphigenia Among the Stars, Prototype 373-G, and Paradise Sets In. He is a former founding artistic director of Whistler in the Dark Theatre, associate artistic director of Yale Cabaret, managing editor of Theater magazine, and artistic coordinator for Yale Repertory Theatre, where he supported the development of more than two dozen new plays. He is an alumnus of Middlebury College and Yale School of Drama.

Štepàn Šimek is a director, translator and a Professor of Theatre, Chair of the Theatre Dept at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. Previously, he was a faculty member at The Evergreen State College in Olympia WA, and Reed College. Šimek has directed over thirty theatre productions in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland, both professionally and in University settings; translated plays from Czech, German, Russian and French, and adapted several novels, including Michael Bulghakov’s Heart of the Dog, and Franz Kafka’s Amerika for the stage. He an authorized translator of former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel’s work. His translations received the 2006 PEN America Award. 

John Schmor was the head of the department of Theatre Arts at the University of Oregon for 11 years, and currently teaches different topics in advanced acting, devising for production, and graduate seminars in aesthetics and the early 20th century Russian and European avant-garde.  Schmor directs regularly for the University theatre and for the Oregon Contemporary Theatre in Eugene.  In addition to ongoing interest in devising, Schmor also has directed his own adaptations of Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts, and Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness.

Stefka Mihaylova is Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she teaches the history and theory of twentieth- and twenty-first century Western performance. She is currently completing a book manuscript that explores how representations of race and gender shifted on American and British stages in the 1990s as artists began revising the concepts of radical performance inherited from the 1960s. She is a coeditor (with Tracy C. Davis) of the anthology Uncle Tom’s Cabins: The Transnational History of America’s Most Mutable Book. Her articles have appeared in Theatre SurveyNTQ, and book collections. She has served as a production and literary dramaturge in theatres in Chicago.