UNCLE VANYA Previews

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EDSOSLO858
#1UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/1/24 at 12:07am

Oh my God! Okay, it’s happening, everybody stay calm…

Steve Carell has found his latest office: the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, where he makes his Broadway debut as the title figure in Uncle Vanya — the first Main Stem production of the Chekhov classic since 2000. This revival features a new translation by Heidi Schreck, with direction by Lila Neugebauer. Joining Carell in the principal cast are Jonathan Hadary, William Jackson Harper, Jayne Houdyshell, Spencer Donovan Jones, Mia Katigbak, Alfred Molina, Alison Pill, and Anika Noni Rose. Previews begin tomorrow (April 2), opening night is April 24, and it will run through June 16. 

“Sonia and her uncle Vanya have devoted their lives to managing the family farm in isolation, but when her celebrated, ailing father and his charismatic wife move in, their lives are upended. In the heat of the summer, the wrong people fall in love, desires and resentments erupt, and the family is forced to reckon with the ghosts of their unlived lives.”

Who’s heading to the estate?


Oh look, a bibu!

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jacobsnchz14
#2UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/1/24 at 11:23am

Lincoln Center Theater Delays First Preview of UNCLE VANYA (broadwayworld.com)

Originally scheduled to begin performances on Tuesday, April 2, UNCLE VANYA will now have its first preview on Wednesday, April 3.

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Wick3
#3UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/1/24 at 12:39pm

oh wow. hopefully all is ok. They probably have an invited dress rehearsal tonight?

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UWS10023
#4UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/1/24 at 3:12pm

I do not think there is an invited dress. They probably wanted another rehearsal.

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TaffyDavenport
#5UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/3/24 at 11:12am

Running time is 2:45, including intermission.

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henrike
#6UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/3/24 at 11:44pm

Just got out of the show. I was initially worried as they had canceled the original first preview performance, but the technical elements and the actor memorization weren't an issue. That being said, I'm not sure how this will be received. Personally, I found it to be absolutely tedious to sit through.

 

If you thought Camelot at the Beaumont was boring, I suggest taking melatonin before Uncle Vanya so that you will at least get a good sleep while the actors are busy acting moody and mildly depressed. Performance wise, Steve Carrell brings the most into the role. Funny yet pathetic, with all of the Steve Carrell-isms. Allison Pill gave a Chekhov performance you can watch in any BFA/MFA program. William Jackson Harper was fine. The character of Yelena is tricky to play, and Anika Noni Rose's portrayal was... a bit off. Hopefully, the actors will better footing as those lines will be more natural for them.

 

Heidi Schreck's translation was partly modernized. The characters discuss monetary values in "Dollars" ($200,000 for the value of the estate, irrc) and a line says, "Send a picture when you get there." Some props were modern (Tupperware, stainless water bottle), all the furniture were antiques, and no sign of modern technology (e.g. no phones or laptops). I'm still confused about what the setting for this play is. And maybe that's the intent - it can happen anywhere/anytime and it is happening everywhere. But whatever concept that Heidi and Lila had discussed during the development process, it was not clear.

 

Design was fine. But the staging seemed to lean toward house right, so I recommend buying seats to the right of the venue. I just don't think the Beaumont is the right venue for Chekhov plays. Too big.

It's only the first preview, so perhaps the drama will become more compelling as they keep working on it.

Updated On: 4/4/24 at 11:44 PM

BoringBoredBoard40
#7UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/4/24 at 12:12am

this play is so over-produced, I really wish we had gotten her translation of Three Sisters she was potentially going to do at NYTW instead.

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VernonGersch
#8UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/5/24 at 3:31pm

any other reports from previews.  curious 

hearthemsing22
#9UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/5/24 at 4:34pm

BoringBoredBoard40 said: "this play is so over-produced, I reallywish we had gotten her translation of Three Sisters she was potentially going to do at NYTW instead."

Completely forgot that was a thing. Maybe it'll come up in 25/26?

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JoeW4
#10UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/5/24 at 5:21pm

hearthemsing22 said: "BoringBoredBoard40 said: "this play is so over-produced, I reallywish we had gotten her translation of Three Sisters she was potentially going to do at NYTW instead."

Completely forgot that was a thing. Maybe it'll come up in 25/26?
"

 

If Heidi Schreck was ever attached to NYTW's Three Sisters, it was earlier in development. Clare Barron was the playwright attached to adapt it more recently, both in 2020 when the production first announced officially, and post-pandemic when it was supposed to come back.

theatergoer3
#11UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/5/24 at 5:35pm

VernonGersch said: "any other reports from previews. curious"

Scattered Reddit reports seem mixed. Praise for performances but mixed on the adaptation itself. 

Updated On: 4/5/24 at 05:35 PM

Hamilfan2
#12UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/5/24 at 8:38pm

I really liked it tbh!  I thought performances were great across the board- with the standouts being Alison Pill and William Jackson Harper.  Steve Carell is also excellent as Vanya, and manages to bring some humorous moments while still feeling very grounded and naturalistic.  

The adaptation itself is a pretty standard Vanya adaptation.  It worked for me and while it dips a bit in Act 1 I did find overall it moved at a good pace and I was never really bored.  Didn't really have any gripes with the adaptation, but found the overall physical production to be lacking.  Without going into spoilers, there are a few scenic moments that in another production may have been magical but here just fell a bit flat and didn’t add much to the storytelling.

Overall though I thought it was in great shape for a second preview and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would!

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The Distinctive Baritone
#13UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/5/24 at 11:59pm

For any Chekhov fans who haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the Conor McPherson version with Toby Jones. They filmed it onstage in an empty theater after it was shut down by COVID. The acting is exceptional and McPherson does a great job of making the language sound contemporary.

Wish I could see this version - Steve Carrell is a perfect Vanya I’m sure.

BoringBoredBoard40
#14UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/6/24 at 12:33am

JoeW4 said: 
If Heidi Schreck was ever attached to NYTW's Three Sisters, it was earlier in development. Clare Barron was the playwright attached to adapt it more recently, both in 2020 when the production first announced officially, and post-pandemic when it was supposed to come back."

Correct she was originally going to translate it and then Consitution blew up and she had to step away from the project

KevinKlawitter
#15UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/6/24 at 9:07am

The Distinctive Baritone said: "For any Chekhov fans who haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the Conor McPherson version with Toby Jones.They filmed it onstage in an empty theater after it was shut down by COVID. The acting is exceptional and McPherson does a great job of making the language sound contemporary.

Wish I could see this version - Steve Carrell is a perfect Vanya I’m sure.
"

Hugh Bonneville will be starring in a production of McPhereson's Vanya as part of Berkeley Rep's 24-25 Season

B212323
#16UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/7/24 at 12:20am

KevinKlawitter said: "The Distinctive Baritone said: "For any Chekhov fans who haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the Conor McPherson version with Toby Jones.They filmed it onstage in an empty theater after it was shut down by COVID. The acting is exceptional and McPherson does a great job of making the language sound contemporary.

Wish I could see this version - Steve Carrell is a perfect Vanya I’m sure.
"

Hugh Bonneville will be starring in a production of McPhereson's Vanya as part ofBerkeley Rep's 24-25 Season
"

and in Washington DC next spring 

 

dsikula
#17UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/7/24 at 1:47am

I couldn't disagree more. It was obvious to me that McPherson doesn't like the original, since he keeps arguing with it and distorting Chekhov's text and intentions. On top of that, the Brits (and the Irish, in this case) almost always make the plays about class (Brian Friel is the notable exception), which has nothing to do with what Chekhov is talking about. That PBS version was too tin-eared and shouty for me.

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sinister teashop
#18UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/7/24 at 12:05pm

Add me to the list of fans of the Conor McPherson "Vanya"... maybe not my favorite of the many versions I've seen but I liked it quite a bit. As for the British making class an issue in Chekhov, they don't have to look that hard to find it. Chekhov saw it and wrote about it in his plays but they are about many other things as well... so was Ian Rickson's excellent production of the McPherson adaptation. 

Updated On: 4/7/24 at 12:05 PM

Owen22
#19UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/8/24 at 3:19am

Annie Baker's modern language translation at Soho Rep might be my favorite interpretation.  Not only did it feel frash and immediate, it provided one of the greatest recent downtown ensemble of actors a unique, yet totally Chekovian exploration of this wonderful play.

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The Distinctive Baritone
#20UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/8/24 at 9:38am

dsikula said: "I couldn't disagree more. It was obvious to me that McPherson doesn't like the original, since he keeps arguing with it and distorting Chekhov's text and intentions. On top of that, the Brits (and the Irish, in this case) almost always make the plays about class (Brian Friel is the notable exception), which has nothing to do with what Chekhov is talking about. That PBS version was too tin-eared and shouty for me."


True, it is more towards an “adaptation” than a translation. But I think of it this way: when Chekhov wrote the play, the dialogue at the time seemed highly realistic to audiences. In the 21st-century however, not only has language in general changed a good deal, but we have higher standards for realism since its early development in the late 19th century. Add in the issues that can sometimes come with translating non-English plays and Chekhov can come across as awkward and stilted at times when translated too literally, IMO. As a high school drama teacher, McPherson’s Vanya was the first time I had students actually respond positively to Chekhov. I think more loose translations are what is necessary for today. As long as it is still like, 90% what the author wrote, with a little bit of modernism thrown in, I’m fine with it. Just as we typically trim Shakespeare’s texts for length and clarity, some finessing must be done I think.

Updated On: 4/8/24 at 09:38 AM

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Kad
#21UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/8/24 at 9:54am

Owen22 said: "Annie Baker's modern language translation at Soho Rep might be my favorite interpretation. Not only did it feel frash and immediate, it provided one of the greatest recent downtown ensemble of actors a unique, yet totally Chekovian exploration of this wonderful play."

I missed out on seeing the Baker production, but I have the script and it’s one of the best reads of a Chekhov translation I’ve ever had. 


"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."

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The Distinctive Baritone
#22UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/8/24 at 1:01pm

I agree that Annie Baker's is pretty good. This year I used Richard Nelson's recent translation since it was the easiest for students to buy, and it's not bad either. Similar to Baker's in that it is closer to a direct translation, but doesn't sound like "masterpiece theater" and tries to sound relatively contemporary. I look forward to reading Heidi Schreck's (wish I could see the Broadway production).

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Sally Durant Plummer
#23UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/8/24 at 1:39pm

The production of the Nelson version in 2018-ish was great too. I think it was Columbia?


"Sticks and stones, sister. Here, have a Valium." - Patti LuPone, a Memoir

KevinKlawitter
#24UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/8/24 at 2:22pm

The only version of Vanya I've read was the David Mamet translation (the one used for the Louis Malle film Vanya on 42nd Street) but I enjoyed it a great deal.

Curious how some thought Wallace Shawn was miscast as Vanya because of his background in comedy, and now Steve Carrell is headlining the newest revival.

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UWS10023
#25UNCLE VANYA Previews
Posted: 4/8/24 at 5:00pm

I very much enjoyed the Cate Blanchett production at NY City Center. Richard Roxburgh was excellent.


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