Chekhov’s Uncle Vania Staged by Cuba’s Argos Teatro Co.

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva

HAVANA TIMES — For some time now, I have been attending only those plays about which I have heard something positive. I’ve had some bad experiences and try not to make chance decisions anymore.

However when a theater company of some prestige begins to stage a new play, I try not to miss it. In such cases, one is always certain one will find attractive, controversial and suggestive elements in the performance.

I had such a certainty a few days ago.

The company Argos Teatro was staging a play written by Anton Chekhov in the 19th century – Uncle Vania – and I didn’t think twice to go see it.

Carlos Celdran adapted and directed the play, which gathered an impressive cast (including renowned actor Hector Noas, who plays the doctor Mikhail, and Jose Luis Hidalgo, the lead).

The story portrays a family fraught with unhappiness, frustration and despair.

The implacable feeling of having lost all aspirations, dreams and longings mires Uncle Vania and other characters in a sense of hopelessness.

From Uncle Vania.

Not even love gives them the courage to start life anew.

Though the story has been adapted to reflect the times in most respects, it continues to rely on a cliché which, in my opinion, undermines the overall result of the play (the reproduction of aesthetic canons and how they are used to sustain a romantic conflict).

The fat/thin dichotomy is powerfully operative in contemporary society, but I don’t believe it would have had any weight within the coordinates of this particular story.

That said, Uncle Vania is a unique play. The notion of the sacrifice of some people for the benefit of others, such that others will achieve social and/or intellectual success, the idea of putting aside personal concerns for the sake of others, dates back to the beginning of history but continues to be relevant today.

One thought on “Chekhov’s Uncle Vania Staged by Cuba’s Argos Teatro Co.

  • In 2010 I saw La Compania Teatral Hubert de Blanck’s version of “Tio Vanya,” Directed by Doris Gutierrez and starring Carlos Treto as Vanya, Jose Ramon Vigo as Serebakov, Marcela Garcia as Elena and Julia Gonzales as Sonia. How does the Compania de Argos Teatro version compare to the earlier version? Have you ever seen the American film version, “Vanya on 42nd Street,” a wonderful example of the way in which each particular production of “Vanya” is created?

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