Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Anna: How does a modern woman interact with a classic

How does a modern woman interact with a classic? Even if the actress can throw herself into the role, can the audience ever see her without adding a modern sensibility to how she is perceived?

Collen Corcoran as Anna and the ensemble
(Photo by Dave Sarrafian)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is one of those stories I know well, but I don’t know whether I have really read the novel or not. It is one of the formative tales of my coming of age, teaching me life lessons and cautioning me to beware of railway stations.

Between Tolstoy’s Anna and Flaubert’s Emma Bovary (Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert), I was predisposed to find marriage boring. and romance, while inevitably tragic, to be one way for a woman to express her individuality. Yet, both novels warn, the lover is not to be trusted, and the good man who waits for you at home is to be admired even if he would stifle your very essence. Perhaps Anna and Emma were the precursors to Thelma and Louise, warning women that too much freedom is a dangerous thing.

A newly conceived production of Anna at EgoPo Classic Theater company is helmed by writer/director Brenna Geffers, whose work always provokes me to reconsider how I view women’s roles on, and thus off, stage. This Anna, played commandingly by Colleen Corcoran, is strong enough to endure anything but boredom and betrayal, although she herself is a betrayer. Her husband, Count Alexei Karenin (Carlo Campbell) is controlling and whining, while her lover Count Alexei Vronsky (Andrew Carroll) is all youthful charm, baring his body even if he can’t quite bare his soul.