translated by Christopher Hampton
‘It’s often said that the best of the Chekhov plays is the one you’ve seen most recently. Uncle Vanya doesn’t have a suicide, like The Seagull, or an adulterous couple and a dual more or less indistinguishable from murder, like Three Sisters; nor does it seem to announce the end of an era, like The Cherry Orchard: all it has is a series of ludicrously bungled attempts at murder and suicide and adultery. Perhaps these failures are what makes it feel the saddest and most truthful of these great tragi-comedies, in which, possibly unique to all drama, not a single word seems redundant or out of place.’
Christopher Hampton’s version of Anton Chekov’s Uncle Vanya opened at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, in October 2012.