Uncle Vanya – The Yevgeny Vakhtangov Theatre's production of Uncle Vanya is not the sort of Chekhov you would expect, with a farm surrounded by an orchard, comfortable chairs and a tea table covered in a lace cloth, with a steaming samovar. The atmosphere of a house inhabited for several generations is entirely absent. Director Rimas Tuminas has left space here only for a clash of passions, of broken illusions and unfulfilled hopes. It is as if the production were recapitulating the essential parts of the action in hindsight, as if Voynitsky (Uncle Vanya) were conjuring memories out of the mist, ruminating on what he did wrong and what he could not avoid. The visually-compelling pictures, the precise synchronisation of the actors, creating an impression that is at times balletic, Sergei Makovetsky's imposing performance in the main role and the unusual shaping of well-known scenes have resulted in a production that was the main event of last year's Moscow theatre season and of major European festivals.
"Rimas Tuminas has created an organic fusion between the Baltic school of directing and the mysterious Russian soul, or Russian theatre. In doing so he has undoubtedly created a landmark theatrical event."
(by Leonid Novikov, Kino-teatr.RU)
"In Uncle Vanya the entire cast functions like a Swiss watch – all the wonderful screws, cogs and hands, the whole continuously moving and turning mechanism, is astounding in its perfect harmony. Each person has his trajectory of movement and fate, each has his penetrating hour of truth."
(by Xeniya Larina, Teatral)
"You come out of the theatre and you cannot stop thinking. About the performance, its heroes – it is as if you were trying to replay a long-lost chess match, from midway, from the end, from the beginning. From the happy childhood of Uncle Vanya... However, you will never be able to win. A thwarted life."
(by Grigoriy Zaslavskiy, Nezavisimaya gazeta"
The production uses excerpts from Max Bruch's Kol Nidrei, performed by Timofei Dokshitzer.