A stylish, polished Uncle Vanya redux, Theatre Movement Bazaar’s Anton’s Uncles distills the anger, depression, unfulfilled desire, and regret of Serebryakov, Vanya, Astrov, and Waffles in to a brisk trance of movement.
Dispelling with an on stage presence of Chekhov’s women, Anton’s Uncles presents a refreshing take on an established classic. Incorporating movement and speeding along the ‘action’ to accommodate a more modern audience’s attention span, one may wonder how the whimsy of movement effects a meditation on misery?
In a great way; even without a prior understanding of the underlying themes of Uncle Vanya, the dancing opens up to the audience a glimpse of the repetitive drudgery of life on the Estate. It underlines the class distinctions as perceived by the characters. It allows the repressed sentiment and resentments to flow freely, unencumbered by social graces or norms of 19th century Russia.
The musical interruptions that accompany the appearances of Elena are both heartbreaking and hilarious. Chic 60s xylophone jazz, reminiscent of “The Thomas Crown Affair” is so out of place that it enlightens the stark contrast of the self imposed, day to day misery of these men’s lives, and the hopeful yearnings each keeps for their ideal life, as embodied by the youth and beauty of a woman whose life has not yet been completely wasted.
Despite the nature of the characters and script, this is a joyous Uncle Vanya: the choreography is coy and giddy, the audience is meant to ridicule the silliness of society’s tea rituals, the stage manager is forced to request the Doctor’s exit. The entire approach seems to encourage a newer, younger audience to question their own lives and reassess if they are fulfilling their own needs, or sacrificing to satisfy the desires of others.
After the departure of Elena and the Professor, our men settle back in to conducting the work of the Estate, represented by a percussive display of paper pushing. It is methodical, mechanical, and almost tranquil as the men return to the grind of their working life.
A must see for fans of Vanya and modern dance, this performance piece is also well suited as a companion to a collegiate study of Uncle Vanya. Theatre Movement Bazaar has created a window in to Checkhov’s work easily opened by young students. Anton’s Uncles is right for anyone seeking a modern take on a significant work that holds a mirror to our own human condition.
Thematic content includes: Redemption, Love, Self Destruction, Singing, Live Music, Dance/ Movement, Highbrow, Lowbrow, Humor
S 8pm Sn 3pm