Keith has an aversion to Chekov so he was quite happy to stay home while Jean and I went to see this production at South West Shakespeare.
Directed by Harold Dixon, the production was inspired by a 2012 production at Soho Rep that used a new translation by Annie Baker. I think the translation was key to making the play come alive and feel contemporary. I have seen the play before, but have to admit I really did not ever understand what it was about, probably because I slept through at least part of it. This production kept me awake and engaged throughout.
The cast were generally good, but the standout was Alison Sell as Sonya. We have seen her in a couple of other productions this year, as Cordelia and the Fool in Lear and Rosalind in As You Like It. Last year, she was in Equivocation, playing Judith. Definitely a talent to watch for.
The designer had a few problems making sense of the ages of the characters. Vanya played by Jesse James Camps did not seem old enough to be a contemporary of the Professor or even the uncle of Sonya. A few grey hairs would have gone a long way to solve this problem and a few less on the professor, who looked about 90 instead of recently retired.
At the end though, you have to feel sorry for Chekov, who had such a bleak view of the world and the ability of people to act to improve their situations.