Uncle Vanya
by Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov - Uncle Vanya

BBC Third Programme

Broadcast: Monday 8th October 1951

"Uncle Vanya" is a structurally and psychologically compact drama that takes place on an estate in 19th-century Russia. It explores the complex interrelationships between a retired professor, his second wife, and the daughter and brother-in-law from his first marriage. Interwoven themes of weakness, delusion, and despair – balanced by an underlying message of courage and hope – make this one of the most expressive of Chekhov's works.

The central character is Ivan Voynitsky, or Uncle Vanya, who gradually comes to an awareness of the folly of his life’s ideals. Dedicated for many years to advancing the career of Professor Serebryakov, the husband of his dead sister, Uncle Vanya comes to realise that the professor is a fraud; that the years devoted to making the family estate produce extra income for his brother-in-law's expenses in the city not only required the sacrifice of his own ambitions, but also stifled the hopes of Sonya, the professor's daughter.

Translation by Constance Garnett of Anton Chekhov's 1897 play, "Uncle Vanya", adapted for radio by Barbara Burnham.

With Harcourt Williams [Aleksandr Serebryakov, a Retired Professor], Margaret Leighton [Helena Andreyevna, the Professor's Young and Beautiful second wife, 27-years-old], Yvonne Hills [Sonia, the Professor's Plain Daughter by his First Marriage], Betty Hardy [Maria Vasilievna Voinitsky, the Widow of a Privy Councillor, Mother of the First Wife of the Professor], Leon Quartermaine [Ivan Petrovitch Voinitsky ("Uncle Vanya"), Sonia's Uncle, and Maria Vasilievna's Son], Harold Scott [Ilya Ilyitch "Waffles" Telegin, an Impoverished Landowner], James McKechnie [Michail Astroff, a Doctor], Sybil Arundale [Marina, an Old Nurse], Stanley Groom [The Workmen on the Estate], and Patrick Troughton [The Narrator].

Produced by Barbara Burnham for BBC World Theatre

85 min.


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