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Uncle Vanya (van Itallie Adaptation)

Uncle Vanya (van Itallie Adaptation)
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Anton Chekhov
Adapted by: Jean-Claude van Itallie
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 48
Pub. Date: 1997
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 082221587X
ISBN-13: 9780822215875
Cast Size: 4 female, 5 male

About the Play:

Uncle Vanya is a full-length drama by Anton Chekhov, in a revised English version by Jean-Claude van Itallie. Vanya comes to question his devotion to an aging professor, whose wife Vanya loves even as she is drawn to the enigmatic doctor Astrov. The people in Uncle Vanya are not the best people or the worst. They are like each of us – complex individuals with needs and dreams – trying to deal with life one day at a time. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

Uncle Vanya takes place over the course of one summer. The scene is a country estate in the declining days of Czarist Russia, the home of an old and ailing professor, his young wife, and various other family members. For years the estate, under the management of Uncle Vanya, brother of the professor's first wife, has yielded a modest income, but now, with the professor older and bored, he offers the idea of selling the estate and investing the money in bonds – a prospect most unsettling for those who have come to regard the place as their home. Counterpointed against the professor's unrest are the situations of others in the family: his daughter Sonya's unrequited passion for the local doctor, Astrov, who visits often; Vanya's love for the professor's young wife; and her own unspoken attraction to another. Throughout there is the bittersweet, deeply human aura of real people helplessly in thrall to events and feelings beyond their control. In the end the estate is not sold and, as the summer wanes, the professor and his wife depart, leaving the others to settle back into the uneventful but bearable routine that has become their way of life. Uncle Vanya captures the timeless desire for love and a better life and the universal sense of restlessness.

Jean-Claude van Itallie's version of Uncle Vanya was first produced in 1983 at LaMama ETC in New York City. Later produced at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, and on Broadway, in 1995, at The Circle in the Square Theatre. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 4 female, 5 male

What people say:

"The crispest and most powerful version extant." — The New Republic

"Intense and elliptical." — Village Voice

About the Playwright:

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) was the author of hundreds of short stories and several plays and is regarded by many as both the greatest Russian storyteller and the father of modern drama. From Chekhov, many contemporary playwrights have learnt how to use mood, apparent trivialities and inaction to highlight the internal psychology of characters. He is buried in Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Jean-Claude van Itallie (1936-2021) was one of the most distinguished playwrights of the American avant-garde. Born in Brussels, Belgium, he was three when his family fled the Holocaust to America as refugees in 1940. He grew up on suburban Long Island, graduated Harvard in 1958, and in the 1960s was a seminal force in the explosive New York Off-Broadway theatre. He may be best-known for America Hurrah (his landmark counter-culture trilogy comprised of Interview, TV and Motel), The Serpent, Tibetan Book of the Dead, and his translations of Chekhov's major plays, which are prized by directors and actors for their clarity and subtle rhythms, are possibly the most performed Chekhov versions on the American stage.