Cheryl's Reviews > Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov
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's review
Oct 28, 11

bookshelves: russian-fed
Read in October, 2011

It was an interesting experiment for me, reading a play, as I usually read novels but I also wanted to view the play to compare both vehicles and managed to see the BBC's 1970 production with Anthony Hopkins. I found reading it more fulfiling as I experienced a greater sense of spatial awareness of the layout and props within a room and outside whereby when watching the play these merely became the background to my viewing experience.

The dialogue, I sometimes found manic: slow and going off at a tangent at times and fast and charging at others - a real roller-coaster. I was alittled unsettled at this approach until I read that instead of conventional actions Chekhov offers a "theatre of mood" or a "submerged life" in the text so the play was carried by the emotion of the characters rather than following a structured plotline which, as an example, Oscar Wilde employed in "An Ideal Husband".

This explained the roller-coaster and I'd like to re-visit Chekhov's other plays when I have a moment but in this particular play I found the conservation theme championed by Dr Astrov holds well today and that most of the characters carried a sense of loss and abandonment either in the passing of time, failing in love, unfulfilled dreams and passions so there something for audiences to think about.

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