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Uncle Vanya at Lincoln center-spoilers
Posted by: workerbee 08:18 pm EDT 04/12/24

The performance that I saw would have been a sign of bad-things-to-come if it was the company's first stumble-through, but this was a preview for a paying audience and it was a train wreck. The actors seem totally lost, or else they hate each other, because there are no relationships- and with the exceptions of Jonathan Hadley and Mia Kitigbak who pull themselves up by their bootstraps, all the other performances were disconnected and confused. The production is cold, whiny and confused.

It makes sense to revisit this play about self-involved bourgeoisie and their missed desires and hanging disappointments, but the company is unable to attach the production to anything in our highly dramatic contemporary experience.

The language is a clunky shuttle between period and contemporary, conversation and pronouncement. If there is a rhythm, in the adaptation script, the icompany doesn't grasp it.

The staging is stagey. The biggest choices are having actors stagger along drunk, or find humor in wringing water from wet clothes. Not in the relationships.

The biggest misstep of all is the great Alison Pill as Sonia. Pill has made a strong choice to play a tomboy, athletic adolescent with strong opinions and high energy. Maintaining this means losing the opportunity to coney the vulnerabilities and disappointment in her relationships with the doctor she loves and the dreary father about whom she is conflicted. Anika Noni Rose has chose boredom over longing.

There is just no emotional life in this work. But why?

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