Uncle Vanya in NYC: New Production & Cast Photos, Rapturous Reviews

Note: This is an archived entry that’s over two years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material.

Sydney Theatre Company had its formal opening night on July 21 after two “preview” performances the 19th-20th… with such a brief run, these designations seem a bit arbitrary, but the play’s reception is definitely not. Reviews from both average theatergoers (a selection of Twitter comments can be read here) and professional critics continue to be highly enthusiastic.

Even better are the new cast and production photos that hit the internet today: Lincoln Center showcased a generous series of new stills from the production (taken by Stephanie Berger) on their Facebook page. All deserve a look, but here are the ones featuring Hugo. After a less than spectatcular photo documentation of the Kennedy Center run last summer (with only one blurry shot of Hugo Weaving’s Astrov) these are a revelation, and a worthy successor to Lisa Tomasetti’s first-class photos of the Sydney production in 2010.

Hugo Weaving as Astrov and Anthony Phelan as “Waffles”; Photo: Stephanie Berger/Lincoln Center

Hayley McElhinney as Sonya, Hugo Weaving as Astrov; Photo: Stephanie Berger/Lincoln Center

Hayley McElhinney as Sonya, Hugo Weaving as Astrov; Photo: Stephanie Berger/Lincoln Center

Hayley McElhinney as Sonya, Hugo Weaving as Astrov; Photo: Stephanie Berger/Lincoln Center

There were also new cast photos taken after the Premiere performance on July 21: these originally appeared on Getty Images, Zimbio and Wire Images.

Hugo Weaving, Uncle Vanya Cast Photo Call 21 July 2012; Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Jim Spellman/WireImage

Jim Spellman/WireImage

Charles Eshelman/Film Magic

Charles Eshelman/Film Magic

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

One of the most artful (and rhapsodic) reviews of the Kennedy Center production last summer was written by the New York Times’ Ben Brantley, who called the play one of his most enjoyable experiences at the theater at the time; given another chance to see the play, he’s still smitten: “[Tamas] Ascher, a Hungarian director who has seldom worked in English before, has delivered what may be the most profoundly physical, and physically profound, interpretation ever of this 1897 play, which Chekhov disarmingly subtitled ‘scenes from provincial life.’ Working with a cast that dares to spend most of its time onstage somewhere way out on a limb, Mr. Ascher solves the eternal Chekhov conundrum that often brings strong directors to their knees…Are these bleak portraits of hope-starved lives meant to be farce or tragedy? Mr. Ascher’s version says, as persuasively and organically as any production I know, that the answer is both. Life is a tragedy because it’s so farcical. And like many of the characters onstage you may find yourself making noises that could mean you are laughing or crying. And you realize just how fine a line there is between the responses…  And even when two people are unconditionally, magnetically attracted to each other — as Astrov and Yelena are — they don’t know what to do with their bodies. There has seldom been a clumsier, sadder or more fiercely passionate (not to mention acrobatic) kiss than the one shared by Ms. Blanchett and Mr. Weaving in the final scene.”

More is sure to follow, so watch this space. And I hope to see some of you in New York this week! 🙂


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