Uncle Vanya

by Anton Chekhov - a new adaptation by Conor McPherson

This popular new version was first performed at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2020 with great success and later streamed on TV. With a strong cast including Toby Jones and Roger Allum it is a beautifully nuanced modern script that shines a fascinating new light on its themes and makes it truly a play for today. The vivid, stripped down script quickens the pace of this tale of unrequited love, ageing and disappointment in middle age. It also manages to find plenty of humour in the dialogue. In the heat of summer Sonya and her Uncle Vanya while away their time on a crumbling estate deep in the Ukraine countryside visited occasionally by the local doctor Astrov. However, when Sonya’s father – Professor Serebryakov – suddenly returns with his alluring young wife they disrupt the estate’s rhythms, their polite façade crumbles and long repressed feelings start to emerge.

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Serebryakov - Mark Humble

A condescending, pampered retired professor in his sixties. A self-made man who is pompous, vain, irritable and demanding in the wake of many illnesses. He often leaves his family to look after his estate whilst he lives it up with his new wife in the city. He is self-absorbed, has many illnesses and has no empathy for other people’s feelings

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Yelena - Louise Elliker

Serebryakov's poised, beautiful and much younger wife. Heavy with disappointment she is full of indolent boredom and discontent and causes much disruption on the estate. She regrets marrying a man she cannot stand having mistaken intellect and admiration for love. Her hidden feelings for Dr Astrov are expressed in a sudden volcanic eruption of passion.

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Sonya - Emma Nuttall

Serebryakov's daughter from his first marriage. An unhappy young woman in her twenties, aware that time is slipping away and in love with the local doctor, Astrov. She is lovable, loyal, insecure and painfully aware of her limitations and lives a monastic hard-working life with her Uncle Vanya on her father’s country estate. She remains unbowed and determined to move on with her life at the end of the play.

Original

Mariya - Frankie Godliman

The energetic Mother of the professor’s first wife, she is now in her seventies. All through her life she has conducted herself as an intellectual, reading pamphlets and engaging in social, economical and philosophical issues. She dotes on the professor and livens up whenever he visits his estate. She clashes with her lazy son, Vanya, during the course of the action.

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Vanya - Paul Foster

Mariya's eminently likeable son who gave up his career to cut his expenses and provide for his mother. He is self pitying and often made to look a fool. He works on the estate and feels like a displaced person, more so on the arrival of the professor. He has an unrequited passion for Yelena. An educated, disillusioned, dissolute man who has failed to fulfil his early promise. He drinks a lot, is a bit of a crackpot and carries a lot of the sarcastic humour in the play.

Original

Astrov - Nick Lund

A local doctor who has a love of nature and researches the dangers of deforestation. He is a charming romantic idealist with a faded nobility whose good looks have eased his passing through life. Careworn by his work and the many miles he has to travel, he is a heavy drinker but is still very attractive to women.

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Telegin ('Waffles') - Marc Anderson

An impoverished landowner in his sixties who lodges with the family. His wife left him soon after they married but he carries himself with dignity. He is rather poetic and provides the family entertainment by playing the guitar.

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Nana - Jean Warner

A nursemaid to the family. Very much part of the family, she is warm hearted, kindly, reliable and capable. She makes shrewd observations on human behaviour. A great comfort to others she adds a stolid humour to the play and a warmth generated by routine.

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Director - Judith Dolley

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Stage Manager - Clare Pinnock

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Set Design and Construction - John Godliman

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Continuity - Sandra Thomas

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Sound - Ian Santry

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Lighting - Nigel Greenaway