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Friday, 15 April 2011 16:52

Dates for Andrei Konchalovsky’s Production of the Moscow State Mossovet Theatre Presentation of UNCLE VANYA Announced

A & Y Productions, Inc. Presents 

Andrei Konchalovsky’s
Acclaimed Production of the
Moscow State Mossovet Theatre Presentation of

UNCLE VANYA
By Anton Chekov

Set for Three Special Performances
At The Tribeca Performing Arts Center
Saturday May 14 & Sunday May 15

Only U.S. Presentation of Konchalovsky’s Celebrated Production

Leading Russian director/producer Andrei Konchalovsky’s production of the Moscow State Mossovet Theatre presentation of Anton Chekov’s UNCLE VANYA will be presented, in its only U.S. engagement, at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center for three performances only on Saturday, May 14 at 7pm, and Sunday, May 15 at 2 & 7pm.  UNCLE VANYA will be performed in Russian with English translation.

Andrei Konchalovsky's production commemorates two important events in the world of literature: 150 years since the birth of A. P. Chekhov and 105 since his death.  UNCLE VANYA is, without a doubt, one of Chekhov's most brilliant plays: elaborate and expressive, full of intertwining psychology and explosive humor, fruitless longings, infinite desperation and futile lives. In a highly detailed manner, the author uncovers the inner worlds of a group of characters in the 19th century, who spend a few days together in a secluded, lifeless estate.

As the Russian Literary Echo states, “Konchalovsky’s production is complex, penetrating and thought-provoking. It stirs up peoples’ souls.  After watching it you have an “aftertaste” for a long time – a desire to pick up a volume of Chekhov and reread, remember and discuss it….”

In Chekhov’s tragicomic UNCLE VANYA, the title character is the aging caretaker of a country estate owned by his wealthy brother-in-law, a renowned professor. Vanya’s lonely, constricted life as a bumbling farm manager contrasts with the professor’s cosmopolitan world and second marriage, after widowhood, to a beautiful, much-younger woman. As their extended family and neighbors circle around the two aging men, once friends, now antagonists, Chekhov portrays the cultural and emotional dynamics of youth and age, ambition and disappointment, town and country, and love and loss in late 19th century Russian society.

Andrei Konchalovsky is one of the few Russian directors who, along with such figures as Sergei Eisenstein, Andrei Tarkovsky, Alexander Sokurov and Nikita Mikhalkov (Konchalovsky’s younger brother), are well known in Europe and America.  Konchalovsky began his career as a musician then, having graduated from the Institute of Cinematography, became a director and screenwriter – first as a co-author of scripts by Tarkovsky, later as the director of many of his own pictures.   His films that were shot in the U.S.S.R. – “First Teacher,” “Uncle Vanya,” and “Sibiriade” – gained recognition at festivals in Venice, Cannes, San-Sebastian, Toronto and San-Francisco. Later he worked in America, where he made such famous films as “Runaway Train,” “Tango & Cash” and others.  After the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Konchalovsky returned to a new Russia but continued working in the West. His TV miniseries of “The Odyssey” and “The Lion in Winter” received nominations and won prizes in the “Emmy” and “Golden Globe” competitions.  In addition to the cinema Konchalovsky successfully works in theatre and opera. He has staged productions in Paris, Warsaw, Moscow – at the Grand-Opera, the Metropolitan, Covent-Garden, La Scala and the Mariinsky Theatre. His production of the opera “War and Peace” was nominated for the Lawrence Olivier  Best Foreign Production.  In the 1970s Konchalovsky turned to Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” for the first time and made a film that became a world classic among cinematic Chekhov adaptations. Woody Allen once called this picture the best film version he had seen in his life.

When someone asks me why I chose “Uncle Vanya” or how Chekhov is relevant today,” says Konchalovsky, “I sorrowfully think that soon journalists will be asking Riccardo Muti how Mozart is relevant or why Gergiev has chosen to conduct Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony.  Chekhov is a symphony. A symphony of life; Of a life without tragic events, vast achievements or heart-felt impulses, of a life void of Heroes. As Chekov said himself, ‘a simple, dull, philistine life.’ Man is not able to stare at the moon waiting for it to set behind the horizon. Man is incapable of looking at a tree and noticing how it is slowly turning yellow. Neither are we capable of looking intently at life and seeing how it inevitable ends in death. Nevertheless we still know that the moon sets, that trees turn yellow and shed their leaves; that life eventually comes to an end. As an artist, Chekhov had the unique ability, like no other in the history of art, to look at life long and hard. Chekhov was, in fact, the creator of that same contemporary drama that replaced 19th-century Romantic tragedies.  It's easy to love talented heroes that haven't been knocked down by tragedy or by life itself. But it's hard to love the regular average man, who is unable to perform heroic deeds. Yet these are exactly the kind of people Chekhov loves, because he knows that they too will die. He expressed his understanding of art in a very clear way: ‘While people eat their lunch and drink their tea on stage, their life is slowly crumbling around them.’”

The A & Y Productions, Inc. presentation of Andrei Konchalovsky’s production of the Moscow State Mossovet Theatre presentation of Anton Chekov’s UNCLE VANYA will be held at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center (199 Chambers Street, New York), for three performances only on Saturday, May 14 at 7pm, and Sunday, May 15 at 2 & 7pm.   Tickets are: $150, $125, $100, $85, $75, & $65, and can be ordered by calling 212-220-1460 or visiting http://www.tribecapac.org/theater.htm.   UNCLE VANYA will be performed in Russian with English translation..