re: UNCLE VANYA Last Night
Posted by: TomE 12:49 pm EDT 04/20/24
In reply to: UNCLE VANYA Last Night - sergius 07:35 am EDT 04/20/24

To me, the show was mostly excellent, and the haphazard feel worked with regard to the performances (though not with regard to the uneven modernized translation).

I think unity and affiliation can reasonably be emphasized or downplayed and that, here, they are being downplayed. Although I can't remember if the line actually appears in the present translation, it seems that this production may be trying to evoke the sense of existence suggested by a comment from the Professor -- their 26-room house is like a labyrinth, where nobody can find each other. So, they're not even alone together -- they're just alone.

Also, one character refers to everyone as a bunch of insects, and if I recall (and saw things) correctly, Carell's Vanya pretends to have electrocuted himself on a mosquito zapper. So, I thought it was apt when the people onstage gave the sense of bouncing around incoherently and seldom even experiencing the ties of shared sorrow (any more than insects might). That feel heightened for me the relatively rare moments when a character really tried to break through to someone else, whether vehemently (Pill's Sonya screaming directly in the face of Vanya) or awkwardly (Houdyshell's Marya just barely finding the wherewithal to touch Vanya gently on the back).

Also, in the last minutes, where I thought Pill and Carell were especially strong and well-directed, it seemed to me that Carell's subtle changes in expression were conveying moment by moment a loss of common ground even as Pill says, over and over, "We" will do this and "We" will do that.

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