Vanya has had enough.
The main character in Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya has toiled for decades for his brother-in-law, an arrogant professor. Because Vanya and his niece Sonya always thought the famous professor’s work was important, they managed his country estate for him, enabling him to occupy himself with studying art. But it turns out the professor was a failure and his projects were fictitious. Vanya has spent his life working for an illusion. And so he rebels.
Chekhov is renowned for writing characters who are afraid to act, which allows life to catch up with them. The three sisters in Three Sisters, Vanya, the eponymous Ivanov – all these characters would prefer to live different lives, but none of them manage to accomplish this. In the 21st century, these individual and personal dramas have become a social drama: we know we must drastically adapt our lives if we want our planet and society to remain liveable. But will we only realise the urgency and intervene when it’s too late?
Uncle Vanya is the long-awaited debut on a major Dutch stage of director Liliane Brakema, who has joined the Noord Nederlands Toneel as associated artist starting from the 2020-2021 season. Brakema’s Uncle Vanya is set in a world in crisis, at a time when the current economic and social system has collapsed. While outside the theatre the world is trying to reinvent itself, a group of actors frantically attempt to stage a performance of Uncle Vanya, only to get lost in an old story that is perhaps no longer relevant for our contemporary age.
Liliane Brakema graduated in 2015 from the Theatre Directing study programme at the Amsterdam Academy for Theatre and Dance, with her productions ‘Gif’ (Poison) and ‘De Wilde Eend’ (The Wild Duck). The latter performance was selected for the Nederlands Theater Festival (TF) (the only graduation project ever to be selected) as one of the ten best plays of the season. The work also earned her the Andre Veltkamp Prize, awarded by the Amsterdam Academy for Theatre and Dance. Brakema has previously directed at Theater Freiburg in Germany , at NTGent and she also recently directed Leonce and Lena at Schauspielhaus Bochum.
Brakema’s style is characterised by the way she bases herself on the text while combining it with an intensely physical approach to acting. The tension she creates this way, infuses her productions with emotion and meaning