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Uncle Vanya

by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Trans. By Marian Fell

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From Library Journal
So, what happens in Uncle Vanya? Not much; just life, played out over four acts. There are rich people, and there are people who work for the rich people, whom the rich people don't really care about. There is a gun fired in anger and desperation, but there aren't any bodies to carry off stage. There are men making fools of themselves over women. There are those who accept their fates and wait for their rewards in heaven, and there are others who don't care one way or another. There is a character whose name is in lights as the title, but he doesn't add up to all that much. Chekhov's play moves so languidly that, without a vibrant cast, an understanding director, and a lively translation, it stands the chance of passing under the radar of the average audience. Columbus's reworking of the script (done for Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company) aims at accessibility, replacing the "outdated colloquialisms" and "brittle prose" of earlier translations. And, for the most part, it's OK. It's not revelatory or revolutionary, but it stands as good a chance as any of getting the audience to come back after intermission. Recommended for collections in need of a new copy of this work. Larry Schwartz, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Book Description
MARINA. [Shaking her head] This house is topsy-turvy! The Professor gets up at noon, the samovar is kept boiling all the morning, and everything has to wait for him. Before they came we used to have dinner at one o'clock, like everybody else, but now we have it at seven. The Professor sits up all night writing and reading, and suddenly, at two o'clock, there goes the bell! Heavens, what's that? The Professor wants some tea! Wake the servants, light the samovar! Lord, how topsy-turvy!

Language Notes
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian

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A country house on a terrace. In front of it a garden. In an avenue of trees, under an old poplar, stands a table set for tea, with a samovar, etc. Some benches and chairs stand near the table. On one of them is lying a guitar. A hammock is swung near the table. It is three o'clock in the afternoon of a cloudy day. MARINA, a quiet, grey-haired, little old woman, is sitting at the table knitting a stocking.



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