A New Play from an Old Story
by Kevin Kautzman, directed by Dina Vovsi

A troubled girl. A talking doll. A witch with boundary issues. All this and more (with puppets!) in VASILISA MOST LOVELY, an adaptation of the Russian folktale for all ages.

Up next: time will tell.



Kevin drafts the script during a workshop with Sherry Kramer at the University of Texas at Austin while on fellowship at the Michener Center for Writers.


The play receives its first public reading in Austin and later a developmental workshop in New York, supported by Page 73 and directed by Dina Vovsi.


The play receives a staged reading at New York’s Dixon Place, with puppetry and live music.



The play received a workshop and two performed readings at the Barn Arts Collective in Bass Harbor, Maine.

What’s Past

Public Reading, New York’s Dixon Place
March, 2015

Featuring Toni Anderson, Holly Chou, Jody Christopherson, Rebeca Fong, Emily Hartford, Monica Jones, Gretchen Van Lente, and William Oliver Watkins, with puppet design by Emily Hartford and original music by Adam Lomeo.

Just Another Folktale

These two somebodies have nothing to do with our play explicitly, but we like the quotes.

Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life.
– Schiller

I use to be Snow White, but I drifted.
– Mae West

Something Like a Synopsis

A play for all ages, with puppets, live music and damn it, yes, magic. On her deathbed, Vasilisa’s mother gives her a special doll to comfort her in her grief. Later, when faced with excessive chores at the hands of a greedy step-mother and step-sisters with serious boy problems, Vasilisa discovers her doll really does have the power to comfort her. Literally. A play about loss, growing up and the hope that kindness might heal what time cannot. VASILISA MOST LOVELY is an original adaptation of the Russian folktale featuring Vasilisa (the loveliest girl in the country), her snarky doll and the infamous Baba Yaga.

The Culprits

Dina Vovsi

Forest Rogers vasilisa_doll_200

Dina Vovsi is a director originally from Riga, Latvia who is currently based in Brooklyn and committed to developing new and devised plays, especially those with a magical flair. She is currently the Assistant Director/SDCF Observer on The Winter’s Tale (dir. Davis McCallum) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (dir. Eric Tucker) at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, with the latter transferring to The Pearl in the fall. She will be a 2015-2016 Directing Resident at Playwrights Horizons next season. More at dinavovsi.com.

Kevin Kautzman

Forest Rogers vasilisa_doll_200

Kevin Kautzman is a playwright originally from North Dakota. A recipient of the Jerome and Michener fellowships, his work has been seen in the UK and US, most recently DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP at the Finborough in London. He lives in New York and is under commission by History Theater in Saint Paul, at work on a play about Hemingway’s last days. More at kevinkautzman.com.

Holly Chou


Holly Chou: Holly jumped at the chance to workshop Vasilisa again. In workshop and performance, seems Holly’s always playing little kids (Looking at Christmas, Nine Days Falling, Two Gentlemen of Verona), old ladies (Nine Crimes, This is a Pen, All Times), and men (Good Person of Szechuan, R&J, Two Gents). Voiceover/tv/film credits at hollychou.com.

Emily Hartford
The Doll / Puppet Designer


Emily Hartford is a co-founder and Director of Development of the New York Innovative Theatre Award-winning company Rabbit Hole Ensemble (est. 2005). Emily is an actor, puppeteer, puppet designer, producer, grant writer, and aspiring circus performer. Upcoming: Blood Red Roses: The Female Pirate Project, Drama of Works.