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Uncle Vanya details

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Uncle Vanya description

Chekhov quaintly but pointedly dubbed Uncle Vanya “A Portrait of Country Life in Four Acts.” Anything but bucolic, his tragic but funny/awful masterpiece deals honestly with isolation, economic uncertainty, tensions around property inheritance, depression, resilience, and family bonds.

Sounds pretty contemporary? How about “Forests are disappearing, rivers are running dry... the climate is ruined...” This nineteenth century Russian writer’s themes are becoming more urgent by the minute.

But this version goes much further. For a start, it’s performed in real time over two days. On a real country estate. In this case, Hans Heysen’s magnificent historic home The Cedars, near Hahndorf. A small audience of 40 people per performance enters the world of the play as it unfolds within the rooms of the house and spills into the surrounding landscape. Between acts, the audience hear about the history of the property and the ecology of the area, and interact with the characters, who go about their lives, seamlessly continuing both ‘in’ and ‘out’ of performance.

Conceived by director Bagryana Popov, produced with Melbourne’s La Mama and supported by La Trobe University, this unique event has been performed in regional locations in Victoria and NSW. Those who have experienced it have found it deeply moving.

Festival experiences don’t get any more special than this.

For the audio version of this event page, click here.

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