Career > > 1995 > A Month in the Country

A Month in the Country

April 25, 1995 - June 10, 1995 | Broadway, Criterion Center Stage Right
Directed by: Scott Ellis | Literature: Ivan Turgenev | Set Design: Santo Loquasto
Natalya Petrovna (Helen Mirren) is married to Arkadi Islaev (Byron Jennings), a rich landowner seven years her senior. Bored with life she welcomes the attentions of Rakitin (Ron Rifkin) as her devoted but resentful admirer, without ever letting their friendship develop into a love affair. The arrival of a handsome 21-year-old student Aleksei Belyaev (Alessandro Nivola) as tutor to her son Kolya ends her boredom. Natalia falls in love with Aleksei, but so does her ward Vera (Kathryn Erbe), the Islaevs' 17-year-old foster daughter.
Cast: Cast & Characters Helen Mirren (Natalya Petrovna), Ron Rifkin (Mikhailo Aleksandrovich Rakitin), F. Murray Abraham (Ignaty Ilich Shpigelsky), Kathryn Erbe (Verochka), John Christopher Jones (Afanasy Ivanovich Bolshintsov), Alessandro Nivola (Aleksei Nikolaevich Belyaev), Gail Grate (Lizaveta Bogdanovna), Rocco Sisto (Shaaf), Helen Stenborg (Anna Semyenovna Yslaeva), Benjamin N. Ungar (Kolya), Dan Moran (Matvei), Byron Jennings (Arkady Sergeich Islaev), Patricia Ageheim (Katya)

Production Photos

Production Notes

It may have only taken a year to transfer “A Month from the Country” from its successful London run to the New York stage – but for Mirren, it took exactly 30 years after her professional theatre debut in “Antony and Cleopatra”, and countless of timeless iconic performances on stage to tackle the big one – Broadway. Mirren reprises the leading role of Natalya Petrovna: A bored, wealthy woman infatuated with her innocent ward’s cute tutor, only to become the girl’s rival. Transfer, however, may not be the right word since none of the cast and creative team of the London production, save for Mirren, were involved with this Broadway production.

The play, which was called “one of the most difficult plays in the modern canon to stage” by the New York Times upon its Broadway run, was met with mixed to positive reviews. New York Magazine wrote, that “the distinguished British actress Helen Mirren is a more bumptious Natalya than she was in London, and by no stretch of imagination 29. Still, it is a polished (perhaps too polished) professional performance, even if it could not efface the memory of Delphine Seyrig for second.” Variety wrote, that “however familiar her films and TV projects, Mirren is no interloper seeking validation on a Broadway stage. Still, she does a double take that would make Bob Hope proud”. The New York Times was more critical of the play and Mirren. “The astonishments at the Criterion Center are mostly negative. Ms. Mirren so underplays the strong-willed Natalya Petrovna that there’s never any awareness of the profound nature of her infatuation for the tutor, and at the end, no feeling of her loss. Ms. Mirren’s performance is bigger and somewhat more animated than the one she gave last year in an entirely different London production of “A Month in the Country.” Yet the effect still seems small. This might be the result of her dread of overstatement. It could also be that those of us who admire her work in the close-ups of movies and television (the “Prime Suspect” series) have difficulty actually seeing her on the stage, where she’s in a continuous long shot. The camera adores her. With a slight change of expression, she can look beautiful one minute and ravaged the next. Her fine, melancholy eyes reveal a succession of contradictory feelings. Onstage here she’s a single, somewhat aloof personality who behaves in mysterious ways.

Awards & Nominations

1995   Theatre World Award as Outstanding Actress in a Play (winner)
1995   Tony Award as Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (nomination)
1995   Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Actress in a Play (nomination)



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