by Anton Chekhov
German Angela Schanelec
translation by Arina Nestieva
Running time: Two hours, no interval
For years, Vanya and his niece Sonya have been managing the estate of his deceased sister in order to finance his brother-in-law’s career. When the professor arrives on the estate to spend his days of retirement there, Vanya realizes that the aged scientist is far from being the celebrity he thought he was. He feels betrayed for having invested so much of his working life in him – and he falls in love with Yelena, the professor’s new wife. Vanya’s friend Astrov is sick of the provinces –the stupidity of the local people has turned the idealist into a cynic – and an affair with Yelena promises some variety. The professor hates the fact that he is growing old, and the prospect of spending his retirement in the countryside with his in-laws makes matters even worse. But he lacks the funds for a life in the city. Sonya in turn has been hopelessly in love with Astrov for years, desperately waiting for him to finally notice her...
Chekhov’s masterpiece is as ridiculously comical as it is tragic in its depiction of a modern patchwork family. Extravagant expectations regarding life, themselves and others lead the narcissistic family members into despair and depression. Only the old nurse knows that the only remedy for boredom is work, that lovesickness is cured by lime blossom tea, and that in the end, we will all have to die.