Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya may be set in 19th-century Russia, but its themes—the universal struggles of controlling desires, maintaining relationships, and being human—are utterly modern.
Pamela Berlin directs Rutgers Theater Company’s production of Uncle Vanya. The performance runs from Feb. 8 to Feb. 17, at the Philip J. Levin Theater. The crew includes Sound Designer Jerome Smith of Rockaway, N.J.
Berlin says she sees Chekhov as an accessible, modern playwright.
“The play could just as easily be set in America in 2013,” she says.
Uncle Vanya begins in the stifling boredom of a summer holiday at the pastoral estate of Professor Serebryakov. From the very first scene in the garden, the stage is set for unrequited, unspoken, or worse, spoken and rebuffed, feelings of desire. The arrival of the Professor and Yelena, his beautiful second wife, upsets the routine of the estate and its inhabitants.
“Chekhov plays are extraordinary studies of people and human nature—that which makes us who we are,” Berlin says.
Conflicted, deeply heartbreaking, yet surprisingly funny, Uncle Vanya provides the audience with the opportunity to contemplate the broad spectrum of human emotion. The characters, however tragic their circumstances, can always laugh at themselves.
“Our challenge,” Berlin says, “is to capture as much of that as possible.”
Uncle Vanya runs from Friday, Feb. 8, through Sunday, Feb. 17. Performances are 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for Rutgers alumni and employees and seniors and only $15 for students with valid ID.
The Philip J. Levin Theater is in the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, 85 George St. (between Route 18 and Ryders Lane), on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick.
For more information about any Mason Gross event, and to learn more about the 2012-2013 season, visit http://www.masongross.rutgers.edu/content/calendar-events, or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at (732) 932-7511.