A friend and I caught a matinee showing of Uncle Vanya at Intiman this past weekend. If you've never seen a Chekhov play, this production will be an entertaining and thoughtful introduction to an oft produced/seldom produced well dramatist. With direction by Bartlett Sher of a Craig Lucas adaptation, the production manages to walk the fine line between comedy and pathos necessary to navigate the triumphs and pitfalls of life as portrayed by Chekhov in his plays.
When Vanya is first introduced to us he seems buffoonish, idle, and unecessarily bitter towards and jealous of his brother-in-law, Professor Serebriakov, a scholar of literature and the arts. However, by the end of the play, the audience comes to understand Vanya's despair and his sometimes outrageous desires and hopes. Indeed, his actions begin to seem not only justified but appropriate in response to his provocations.
Featuring an amazingly fluid set by John McDermott, a haunting score by Adam Guettel (of The Light in the Piazza fame), and uniformly engaging performances (particularly by Mark Nelson as Vanya), this is a Vanya not to be missed.