Written by Anton Checkov, adapted by Andrew Upton and directed by Tamás Ascher, Uncle Vanya is one of the more engaging and entertaining productions to grace an Australian stage in recent years.
Set in the intemperate peripheries of rural Russia, Uncle Vanya is a story of desperation and despair. The character’s lives, much like their humble estate, have fallen into disrepair. Consumed by restless ambivalence, they are imprisoned by age, poverty, duty and love. They tirelessly lament their past, but are unable to amend their future. And yet, despite the gloom, you’ll find yourself laughing the majority of the play.
The set, which has been designed by Zsolt Khell, is visually and structurally stunning, facilitating the action of the play and allowing for reasonably seamless transitions into different spaces of the house.
Upton’s adaptation injects new life into Checkov’s classic by shifting it to Russia in the 1970s. He loosens the language with colloquialisms and relies less on dialogue to carry the piece. Much of the meaning is instead conveyed by the physicality of its actors, and the drama itself. This makes a lot of sense when you’ve managed to congregate one of the most gifted groups of actors in living memory. Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Richard Roxburgh and John Bell appear visibly enthralled by the collaboration.
If can get your hands to tickets, its an experience you’re unlikely to forget.
Night with the Actors
Monday 6 and 13 December 6.30pm
Post-show discussion with the cast and creative team
9 – 12 November 7.30pm
13 November 2010 – 1 January 2011