RAYMOND - The Willapa Players are presenting "The Lighter Side of Chekhov," four one-act comedies directed by Curt Harris, as their spring production. Anton Chekhov was a Russian short-story writer and playwright during the late 1800s. His most famous full length plays are "The Seagull," "Uncle Vanya," "The Three Sisters," and "The Cherry Orchard."

Translator Paul Schmidt has produced vibrant versions in modern English. Despite the distance in years and geography, the audience will learn that people are people, whether in Russia in the 1890s or in the modern U.S.

The first show is about a henpecked husband (played by Scott Cowell) whose wife runs a boarding school and insists that her husband give a speech about "The Dangers of Tobacco."

"The Festivities" shows us a pompous, self-important bank manager (played by Curt Harris), his overworked, anti-social, and perpetually angry clerk (played by Dennis Wasberg), his superficial, self-absorbed wife (played by Heidi Stonebraker), and a crazy woman who comes looking for a pension for her husband (played by Rayetta Kenworthy).

"The Proposal" introduces a long-suffering wealthy landowner (played by Jim White), his daughter (played by Heidi Stonebraker), who is long past the marrying age, and their neighbor (played by Dennis Wasberg). The nervous young neighbor comes to propose to the daughter. Instead of making the proposal, the two young people get involved in comic arguments.

"Swan Song" is about an aging actor (played by Bob Stalder) who wakes up in a darkened theater after falling into a drunken sleep. He begins to doubt his talent and think about his mortality. He is terrified when he thinks a ghost appears, but it is only the theater's prompter (played by Jim Watts) who tries to reassure him. The actor tells him stories of his life and also of his doubts about his career. Unburdened, he goes off cheered, reciting great speeches from Shakespeare.

Production dates are Friday, May 21; Saturday, May 22; Friday, May 28; Saturday, May 29; Friday, June 4, and Saturday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday, May 23, at the Hannan Playhouse, across from the Eighth Street Park in Raymond.

Tickets are $8 and will be available at South Bend Pharmacy, Everyone's Video and More in Raymond, and at the door.

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