For its final show of 2010, Sydney Theatre Company invites Tamás Ascher, one of the world’s foremost interpreters of Chekhov, to direct the great tragicomedy Uncle Vanya, adapted by Andrew Upton. The production, featuring John Bell, Cate Blanchett, Sandy Gore, Hayley McElhinney, Anthony Phelan, Richard Roxburgh, Andrew Tighe, Jacki Weaver and Hugo Weaving is at Sydney Theatre from 9 November 2010 through to 1 January 2011, opening on Saturday 13 November 2010.
On a dilapidated, remote farm Uncle Vanya (Richard Roxburgh) and his niece Sonya (Hayley McElhinney) have worked slavishly for years to sustain an estate in decline. Now Professor Serebryakov (John Bell) and his wife Yelena (Cate Blanchett) have returned to visit, bringing with them chaos and disruption. Constant visits from the charismatic Astrov (Hugo Weaving) are not helpful. Lunch is no longer served at lunch time – now it is procrastinated until dusk – work is forgotten and the long, cool nights have become sleepless. It is in this climate of frustration and thwarted hopes that the Professor chooses to announce a shocking plan.
Hungarian theatre director Tamás Ascher’s productions have been seen in more than forty countries. Former Artistic Director of the legendary Kaposvár Theatre, he also has a long association with the Katona József Theatre (as co-founder and director-in-residence), where his stagings in recent years have included The Barbarians (Gorki), The Triumph of Love (Mariveaux) and Ivanov (Chekhov) – a major highlight of the 2009 Sydney Festival. Among other significant productions in his distinguished career are Mozart’s Idomeneo (Budapest Opera) and Don Giovanni (Lyon Opera), Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (Kaposvár), Kaurismäki’s La Bohème and The Tiger Lillies‘ Shockheaded Peter (Örkény Theatre), Gombrowicz’s Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy (Burgtheater Vienna) and Molière’s The Misanthrope (Helsinki). His legendary production of Three Sisters for Katona József toured all over the world and was part of the repertory for ten years.
Working with him again are the set and costume designers whose work was also seen in Ivanov in Sydney in 2009: Zsolt Khell and Györgyi Szakács. Lighting Design is by Nick Schlieper and Paul Charlier is Composer/Sound Designer.