Last night, my mother, sister, and I went to see the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Uncle Vanya at NYCC. It’s there for a very limited run as part of Lincoln Center’s festival. I think this was one of the top two Chekhov performances I’ve ever seen. You don’t expect—or at least, I didn’t—to hear brilliant interpretations of this masterful Russian playwright spoken in heavy Australian accents, but there they were. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a production of Chekhov that was so funny while managing to retain such humanity. And I loved that the costumes/props/etc. were neither deliberately old-fashioned nor deliberately modern—they were, like the play itself, perfectly timeless. (Plus, I got to see my favorite actress, Cate Blanchett, who, with her husband Andrew Upton (he was responsible for the excellent adaptation), is co-artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company, play the thoroughly beautiful and totally idle Yelena with, well, thorough beauty.)
I am glad that I saw this performance. But I am gladder still that I get to take the memory of it, and of seeing it with my mother and sister in this beautiful theatre on a beautiful evening in my beautiful city, with me. I once wrote a paper on memory in Chekhov. At the risk of sounding incredibly saccharine (whoops! too late!), I know that this memory of Chekhov is one that I will keep.