A classic four-act romantic tragedy by Chekhov, Uncle Vanya premiered to excellent reviews in 1899.
Aleksandr Vladimirovich Serebryakov is a former university professor, now retired in a rural estate. His daughter Sonya and her husband - the titular Vanya - manage his affairs. However all is not well in the Serebryakov household, with drama swift to follow the professor's announcement to sell his country estate.
The result of this sudden revelation is scheming, romantic and otherwise, between the play's nine principle characters. The tensions crescendo as we see what Vanya and others may resort to as the security to which they were accustomed is imperilled, and difficulties thought consigned to the past shockingly resurfaces.
Essentially a extensive rewrite of his play The Wood Demon, authored over a decade earlier, Uncle Vanya reflects the stylistic improvements which Chekhov learned in the intervening period. The cast of characters is trimmed - the original's twenty become just nine - which allows the plot to flow easier and for the audience to better follow the scenes.
Having been staged many times, and adapted for both TV and the silver screen around the world, Uncle Vanya is today considered a classic of Russian literature for its characterisation and intensity.