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Continued: Theater: 'Primrose Path' premieres at the Guthrie

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 26, 2013 - 11:27 AM

When Turgenev wrote “The Home of the Gentry,” Czar Alexander II was soon to emancipate the serfs. In the United States, slaves, too, would be freed within a decade. Darwin in 1859 published “The Origin of Species,” and in France, Manet was painting “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe,” a statement of artistic independence with its provocative nude image.

“There were big puzzle pieces being moved around, and something was afoot,” said Whittell. “It was feeding Russia.”

Rees feels there is a “grasping, a grabbing of life in the Russian experience.” The country’s vast and cold geography so affected people who in the mid-19th century were dealing with the change in agarian patterns and the Industrial Revolution. Those facts and the immense impact of change fueled Turgenev’s portrait of small towns and ordinary people.

“It was 50 years before Chekhov, but the seeds of change were breaking through the ground,” said Rees.


Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299


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  • Video: A&E spotlight: Theater to catch this weekend

    Thursday April 25, 2013

    Neal Justin and Graydon Royce talk about the Park Square Theatre’s “Stick Fly” and the Guthrie’s “The Primrose Path.”

  • Sally Wingert, right, and cast members rehearsing “The Primrose Path” at the Guthrie Theater.

  • Roger Rees

  • 'The Primrose Path'

    What: By Crispin Whittell, based on “Home of the Gentry” by Ivan Turgenev. Directed by Roger Rees.

    When: 7:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 7 p.m. Sun.; selected matinees Wed., Sat., Sun. Ends June 15.

    Where: Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St., Mpls.

    Tickets: $29-$71. 612-377-2224 or

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