Chekhov quaintly but pointedly dubbed Uncle Vanya “A Portrait of Country Life in Four Acts.” Anything but bucolic, his tragic but funny/awful masterpiece deals honestly with isolation, economic uncertainty, tensions around property inheritance, depression, resilience, and family bonds.
Sounds pretty contemporary? How about “Forests are disappearing, rivers are running dry... the climate is ruined...” This nineteenth century Russian writer’s themes are becoming more urgent by the minute.
But this version goes much further. For a start, it’s performed in real time over two days. On a real country estate. In this case, Hans Heysen’s magnificent historic home The Cedars, near Hahndorf. A small audience of 40 people per performance enters the world of the play as it unfolds within the rooms of the house and spills into the surrounding landscape. Between acts, the audience hear about the history of the property and the ecology of the area, and interact with the characters, who go about their lives, seamlessly continuing both ‘in’ and ‘out’ of performance.
Conceived by director Bagryana Popov, produced with Melbourne’s La Mama and supported by La Trobe University, this unique event has been performed in regional locations in Victoria and NSW. Those who have experienced it have found it deeply moving.
Festival experiences don’t get any more special than this.
For the audio version of this event page, click here.
Event additional information
Written by Anton Chekhov Adapted by Bagryana Popov with the contribution of the team Produced by La Mama and Bagryana Popov Directed by Bagryana Popov Performed by James Wardlaw, Natascha Flowers, Todd MacDonald, Liz Jones, Olena Fedorova, John Bolton, Richard Bligh and Meredith Rogers. Dramaturgy by Maryanne Lynch Sound Design by Elissa Goodrich Stage Management by Hayley Fox Documentation by Tess Hutson
Uncle Vanya has been generously supported by La Trobe University through its Disciplinary Research Program in English, Theatre and Drama and Research Focus Area Transforming Human Societies, Creative Victoria, Bundanon Trust, The Avoca Project and Lyndal Jones. We also thank the people at Corinella House and Steiglitz for hosting previous seasons, and Majid Shokor and Vince Crowley for their artistic contribution.
Ticket price includes admission to all four acts over two consecutive days.
Please note audience numbers are strictly limited and audience are split into two groups for Act 2 and Act 3. Audience will be allocated their time slots at Act 1.
It is recommended to stay locally (Hahndorf area) overnight between Day 1 and Day 2. Accommodation is not included in the ticket price.
Between acts there will be various optional events including talks from local farmers/historians/home-owners and local walks (included in the ticket price).
This performance involves walking around the estate and surrounding land. Please wear flat shoes.
Contact us for specific access requirements.
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