Anton Chekhov’s witty, vital, deeply emotional classic leaps from the boldness of this new production’s exploration of the delicate edge between laughter and tears. Celebrated for his direction of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard (1998) and Trevor Griffith’s Chekhov-inspired Piano (2001), director Charles Newell jettisons maudlin, depressing, and dark interpretations in favor of wildly imaginative productions that connect the audience with the essential humanity of these plays. With an aggressive physical design for the MCA stage by architect Leigh Breslau (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), this production expands upon three MCA and Court collaboration successes, most recently for Mabou Mines’s DollHouse.
About the Exhibition
Uncle Vanya and the Seduction of the Trace is an exhibition of works of art by Hiroshi Sugimoto and Louise Nevelson to accompany the performance, and can be viewed in the Beatrice C Mayer Education Center through February 11, 2007.
The works were selected by the production’s set designer, Leigh Breslau, whose minimal set design mirrors their sensibility. The artworks have an element of ambiguity, meant to induce thought and reflection. Sugimoto’s interest in grades of white and gray, and Nevelson’s almost alchemist use of black inspired Breslau’s color palette. Time and relationships are prevalent themes in theater. Similarly, in Sugimoto’s photographs he explores the nature of time: specifically its passage, compression, and distortion, in images of seascapes; and Nevelson was interested in transferring her acute awareness about human relationships to inanimate objects.
The production Uncle Vanya is the MCA’s fourth partnership with Court Theatre, and the art exhibit celebrates the unique history between the museum and one of Chicago’s leading theater companies.