Hudson Reed stages ‘Uncle Vanya’ in Aspen |

Hudson Reed stages ‘Uncle Vanya’ in Aspen

Andrew Travers
The Aspen Times

Local theater veteran Kent Reed hasn’t done a Chekohov play here since his days running Theatre Aspen in the early 1980s, when the company produced “Uncle Vanya.”

So, Reed said, 11 years into his run at the helm of the Hudson Reed Ensemble, he’s long overdue to bring the Russian master back to an Aspen stage. His company’s production of “Uncle Vanya” opens today.

The stage classic of unrequited love and heartsickness in the Russian countryside, Reed said, has survived and is so often revived because of its timeless themes.

“People will see themselves in it,” Reed said. “They’ll say ‘Oh yeah, been there, done that.’”

Reed is playing the title character alongside Hannah Pike as the ravishing Yelena with Chris Wheatley as her professor husband and Eli Pettet, one of the men who falls for her. Kyla Henley plays Sonya, the professor’s daughter with love troubles of her own.

Directing himself always is a tall order, Reed said. But getting himself and his castmates in emotional sync with Chekhov’s characters is the key to “Uncle Vanya.”

“The challenge is just to get myself and the other actors as close to the emotional truth of his story as we can,” he explained. “It’s the human condition of looking for love and not always succeeding. And here, like in a lot of Chekhov plays, people are just in love with the wrong person.”

The theater company is coming off of well-received productions of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” (at its annual Shakespeare in the Park series) and of “Bus Stop” in the spring.

The Hudson Reed Ensemble’s “Uncle Vanya” opens at the Black Box Theatre today on the Aspen School District campus. It runs through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. through Nov. 6. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $15 for students, available in advance at