I wrote this for the Uncle Vanya program, which opens tonight!
We read six different versions of Uncle Vanya around the Antaeus library table before deciding on Annie Baker’s vital rendition.
The marriage of Chekhov and Baker shows us that we haven’t changed very much in over 100 years. There is a stunning relevance to today, and we get excited when a classic play speaks to us in the modern world. But maybe there’s a lesson here.
Astrov’s environmental concerns are frighteningly relevant today, but so is all the boredom, the dissatisfaction, the thwarted wanting, all the hopes and desires unfulfilled, the aborted plans, the love not returned, the closed hearts…
Astrov, Act 4: “Look, in one hundred, two hundred years, there will be people who look back and laugh at us because we lived our lives so foolishly and tastelessly. Maybe those people will have found a way to be happy.”
It’s now a hundred plus years. We are “those people.” Have we found our way?
Chekhov and Baker don’t pull any punches in this Uncle Vanya – it’s life, raw and revealed. And our production has followed their lead.
– Robin Larsen, Director