We have our first workshop scene NOT from Shakespeare, and there’s a great reason!
From October 2021, we present a deep dive into the first half of Act 2 from Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya with director Libby Appel!
What’s particularly special about this one is that we’re working from Libby’s translation of the play; when she was Artistic Director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, she was commissioned to write translations of five Chekhov plays. She worked with dramaturg Allison Horsley, who did the literal translations from Russian to English, and yes, we were able to include Allison in this workshop as well—all the way from New Zealand where she’s currently based!
The presentation today is available on the podcast and YouTube, and you can find both below. While there is a video component, since so much emphasis is on the text, I believe it’s still an excellent experience with the audio version.
While I did know this play and have also seen a great production of it at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago, it was really fun to spend so much more time with these characters over the weeks. I heard from a few audience members that they so appreciated the focus on Chekhov because they weren’t as familiar with his plays, so I hope you find this illuminating and helpful too. There were also comments wanting to see this group do a full production! I think that would be amazing, if we could ever pull that off!
One final thing I’ll leave you with is that the actress Sara mentions toward the end that Libby asks such great questions, which is really the basis of any deep work, creative or otherwise. What questions do you need to be asking yourself, and as an actor, how far are you willing to push yourself to find answers?
Enjoy the audio version of the Uncle Vanya presentation of Act 2:
Total Running Time: 1:56:43
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Uncle Vanya – Act 2 excerpt:
This play is set in 1890s rural Russia, on a country estate and working farm. The Professor has just retired and come back to live at the estate permanently with his younger wife Yelena. The people who normally live at house are Vanya (the Professor’s brother), and Vanya’s niece Sonya, who is the Professor’s daughter. There is also the visiting doctor Astrov and a family nurse Marina—she’s a bit of a servant-type, but very integral to the family. Now normally the Professor just visits for a week in the summer, but now that they’ve moved in, everyone is feeling the effects. At this point in the play, they’ve been back for a month and everyone knows they are staying.
- DIRECTOR: Libby Appel (Q&A)
- DRAMATURG: Allison Horsley
- VOICE: Ursula Meyer (Q&A)
- PROFESSOR: Alberto Isaac (interview)
- SONYA: Deidrie Henry
- MARINA: Jully Lee
- VANYA: Howard Leder
- YELENA: Sara Mountjoy-Pepka
- ASTROV: Corey Hedy
And there’s more!
Catch up on our other workshops featuring lots of Shakespeare scenes, from Hamlet, King Lear, Troilus and Cressida, Midsummer, As You Like It, and our Twelfth Night repertory extravaganza – all on the podcast and YouTube. If you’ve missed any presentations thus far, click here to find them all.
And if you’re brand new, we released Season 5 of the interviews this year – hear fantastic conversations with lifelong actors who have also been part of our workshops, including Alberto Isaac who you’ll hear in the scene today! Plus you can also find the 25+ other interviews from our first 4 seasons!