Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was published in 1987 and first produced by Stanislavsky at the newly-founded Moscow Art Theatre in 1899.
‘Uncle Vanya is embedded in a distinctive historical and cultural landscape. The translator’s job is to fashion an original repetition of the story that has been shaped by those determinants. This requires a carrying across of that text over a gap of a hundred years and across the divide of language and culture, and then representing the story in a language that keeps faith with the subtleties of the original but whose rhythms and nuances we respond to today. Such an undertaking is audacious and cheeky. But if it reflects even palely Chekhov’s sense and sensibility it is well worth the risk.’ — Brian Friel
‘Chekhov and Friel, Friel and Chekhov… over the years, the names of these two master playwrights have become almost inextricably linked. Their finest plays focus on resignation in the face of seismic social change, on papering over deeply suppressed personal turmoil with ceaseless chat, on facing into an uncertain, bleak future with stoical determination, gathering one’s inner resources and going on . . . Through this exemplary reworking of arguably Chekhov’s greatest play, Friel comes so close in spirit and ideology to his Russian counterpart that, twenty minutes in, the experience is almost like being back in Ballybeg, watching through our fingers the disintegration of an affluent but somewhat dysfunctional family, wracked with envy, unrequited love, frustration, self-contempt and insecurity, in a world which is slowly turning against them.’ — Jane Coyle, Irish Theatre Magazine