Chicago Tribune – Sunday, April 27, 1930 – Page 105
Chekov’s “Uncle Vanya” Revived
Jed Harris, the still youthful producer who grew disgusted with the theater that made him upwards of a million dollars with such productions as “Broadway,” “Coquette,” “The Front Page,” and “The Royal Family,” came back to Broadway last week to revive Chekov’s “Uncle Vanya,” and later to inject himself into a fight against the managers who are seeking a solution of the ticket speculator business.
Theater producer Jed Harris
So far as the Chekov revival is concerned, it has two definite features of interest: First, it is one of the few professionally competent performances American actors have given of a Russian drama, and second, it brings the beautiful and wraith – like Lillian Gish back to the living theater after nearly twenty years absence in the movies.
The play is another of those placid, leisurely studies of character and life’s frustrations in which the older Russians specialized. Uncle Vanya of the title, is a gentle soul who has given up his life to the management of his family estate that Alexandria, a pompous mollusk who has married his sister and hypnotized the family by an assumption of learning and importance, may take his lazy ease.
Injury is added to imposition when, being set free by the death of his wife, Alexandria marries the woman Vanya loves. Goaded beyond his strength, Vanya finally turns on his windy tormentor and seeks to kill him. Even in this laudable endeavor he is thwarted, missing the target twice. Then, with the departure of the hated one and his young wife, life resumes its normal way on the estate and Vanya goes back to the unhappy grind.
Miss Lillian Gish as Helena in Jed Harris’ “Uncle Vanya”
Miss Gish is a rarely fascinating personality in the theater, moving consciously about; falling into unconsciously graceful poses; speaking in a gentle voice with modest expression; suggesting a little girl playing most intelligently at acting, but still a little girl.
As to the managers and speculators, Mr. Harris insists a little violently that the managers, who have organized a theater league to curb speculators, are all wrong, even a little imbecilic. They can never hope to control speculators, he says, even with former Gov. Al Smith as their Will Hays. He threatens to do something about it.
Portrait of Lillian Gish and Mother 1920 Nell Dorr Errata: Amon Carter Museum description "Lillian Gish and an elderly woman in lace"; The Movies, Mr.Griffith and Me description of this photo session - "with Mother"
Tears and Cheers for Two Orphans at the Armstrong (The Rock Island Argus – 1922) Fort Armstrong Theatre – cca 1920 Monday – The Rock Island Argus – May 15, 1922 Tears and Cheers for Two Orphans at the Armstrong By J.M.C. There were tears and cheers for “Orphans of the Storm” at the Fort Armstrong yesterday. Both the afternoon and evening audiences were demonstrative to a degree rarely witnessed at a picture presentation, proving alike the effectiveness of the producing genius of D.W. Griffith and the acting of the Gish sisters and the principals of the company supporting them. “The Two Orphans,” the play from which the film adaptation was made, for many years had a firm hold on the American theatergoing public because of its heart appeal and Mr. Griffith has not sacrificed this tender element in the building of the screened version, although he has introduced numerous thrills and swashbuckling veneering in order to give the production the punch that causes it to stand out a