Sydney Theatre Company's Uncle Vanya, With Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh, Opens at City Center July 21
By Adam Hetrick
Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh lead the Sydney Theatre Company production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, which officially opens July 21 at New York City Center as part of the Lincoln Center Festival's 2012 summer programming, after previews that began July 19.
Staged by Tamás Ascher, this new production of Uncle Vanya debuted in Australia in November 2010 and received its American premiere at the Kennedy Center in August 2011. It now plays a ten-performance run through July 28. The new adaptation is by STC co-artistic director Andrew Upton.
Blanchett ("The Aviator," "Lord of the Rings") was last seen on the American stage in the acclaimed Sydney Theatre Company production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2009.
Blanchett stars as Yelena with Roxburgh in the title role. The cast also includes John Bell, Sandy Gore, Hayley McElhinney, Anthony Phelan, Andrew Tighe, Jacki Weaver and Hugo Weaving.
"Fine-tuning a play like Uncle Vanya, which is already well-known to the people playing it, is not so much a verbal exercise as it is a visceral one," Blanchett said of the company's initial exploration of the play. "It's always 'a little more of this'/'a little less of that' — finite adjusting and readjusting."
Here's how it's billed: "On a dilapidated, remote farm, Uncle Vanya and his niece Sonya have worked slavishly to sustain an estate in decline. And so it has been for years, until Sonya's father and his new wife turn this bucolic scene into a hotbed of disillusionment and consuming unrequited love."
The action of the play was moved forward 50 or so years, from a country estate at the turn of the 20th century to rural Russia in the 1950s. Uncle Vanya has set design by Zsolt Khell, costume design by Gyorgyy Szakács, lighting design by Nick Schlieper, and music and sound design by Paul Charlier.
The STC production is the second Uncle Vanya to play to New York audiences this season. Soho Rep's production, a new colloquial adaptation by playwright Annie Baker, opened to raves Off-Broadway and extended through Aug. 26.
For tickets and information phone (212) 721-6500, or visit LincolnCenterFestival.
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