Theater Close-Up


Uncle Vanya

Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya at the Frederick Loewe Theater at Hunter College is directed by Richard Nelson. Vanya (Jay O. Sanders) and his niece Sonya (Yvonne Woods) struggle to care for the estate owned by Vanya’s brother-in-law Alexánder (Jon DeVries), a wealthy professor. When he returns with a beautiful new wife and plans to sell the estate, hidden passions explode and lives come undone.

AIRED: August 23, 2019 | 1:52:04

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as it was written and performed


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Next on "Theater Close-Up"...

>> In one of Ostrovsky's plays,

there's a -- there's a man with

a big beard and small ability.

That's me.

>> [ Laughs ]

>> This doctor has a tired,

nervous face.

It's an interesting face.

>> In all my life, I've never

seen a more beautiful woman.

>> I've loved him for six years


>> What happens when you're

surrounded by misfits?

>> You turn into a -- a misfit

yourself, dissatisfied with

life, like your Uncle Vanya.

>> My life's a waste!

>> Our situation is hopeless.

>> What can we do?

>> To us?

>> From the Hunter Theater


>> To us.

>> the tragic comedy

of life...

>> Aah!

>> To shoot twice and miss both


>> playwright/director

Richard Nelson's acclaimed new

production of Chekhov's

"Uncle Vanya."

>> To betray an old husband she

can't stand -- [ High-pitched

voice ] Oh, that's immoral.

But to try and stifle her poor

youth and living feeling --

that's not, uh...



[ Cheers and applause ]

>> Major Support for

"Theater Close-Up" is provided


Additional major support for

"Uncle Vanya" is provided by...

[ Elizabeth & The Catapult's

"Someday Soon" plays ]



>> ♪ Someday soon, it's gonna

get easier ♪

♪ It's gonna get better

♪ Someday soon

♪ Someday soon, it's gonna

sound like nothing ♪

♪ Nothing was silent

between me and you ♪

♪ Someday soon, we're all gonna

surrender ♪

♪ We're all gonna give up now

♪ And give in to the blue

♪ Someday soon, I won't look

any farther ♪

♪ Just across the table

♪ Me over to you

♪ Ooh

♪ Ooh

♪ Ohh, ohh

♪ Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

♪ Ooh, ohh

[ Dog barking ]

♪ And I...

>> Tea, dear heart?

>> I don't really want any.

>> A nip of vodka, maybe?

>> No.

I don't drink vodka every day.

Besides, it's stifling.

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> We've known each other now,

Nanny, for how long?

>> How long?

You came when Sonitchka's mother

was still alive.

You visited us two winters with

her here.

11 years, maybe even more.

>> And since then, have I

changed much?

>> Very much.

Then you were young, handsome.

Now you've aged, and not so

handsome anymore.

And let's just say you do like

your nip of vodka.

>> Yeah.

In 10 years, I've become a --

a different man.

Why is that?

I've worked too much, Nanny.

I'm on my feet morning to night.

I get no peace.

And at night, I lie under the

blanket, afraid I'll be dragged

off to some sickbed.

In all the time we've known each

other, I haven't had a single

day to myself.

Of course I've aged.

And the life here is boring,

stupid, squalid.

It sucks you in.

You're surrounded by misfits,

nothing but misfits.

You live with them for two or

three years, and gradually,

imperceptibly, you turn into

a -- a misfit yourself.

It's an inescapable fate.

See what an enormous beard I've

grown, huh?

A stupid beard.

I've turned into a -- a misfit.

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> Not that I've become stupid.

Thank God my brain is still in

place, but my feelings have

sort of gone numb.

I don't want anything.

I don't need anything.

I don't love anybody.

Well, maybe just you.

I had a nanny like you when I

was little.

>> Maybe you want to eat


>> No.

The third week of Lent, I went

to Malitskoye -- an epidemic,

typhus, cottages full of people

lying everywhere, filth, stench,

smoke, calves on the floor

beside the sick.

Pigs, too.

I spent a whole day working in

that mess.

I never sat down.

I never had a bite to eat.

I get back home, no rest.

They brought a -- a railroad


I put him on the table to

operate, and he up and dies on

me under the chloroform.

And just when I didn't need it,

feelings woke up in me.

And my conscience was stung, as

if I'd deliberately killed him.

And I -- I sat down, and I

closed my eyes like this.

And I thought, "Those who live

100 or 200 years after us and

whose path we're laying out --

will they remember us kindly?"

No. They won't, Nanny.

>> Well, people won't remember,

but God will.

>> Thanks. You put it nicely.

>> You're here.

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> Mm.

[ Light laughter ]

Good nap?

>> Oh, since the professor came

to live here with his spouse,

life has gone haywire.

I sleep at the wrong time.

I eat spicy kabuli lunch and


I drink wine.

It's all unhealthy.

It used to be there wasn't a

free moment.

Sonya and I worked.

And how we worked.

Now only Sonya works.

And I sleep, eat, drink.

Ah, ah. It's not good.

>> The professor gets up at


>> [ Chuckles ]

>> Before them, we had lunch at

midday, like people everywhere.

But with them...

>> [ Sighs ]

>> ...during the night...

>> Oh.

>> ...the professor reads and


>> [ Chuckles ]

>> And then at 2:00,

the bell suddenly rings.

Good Lord. What's this?


>> Tea!

>> He wants his tea.

What a life.

>> Are they staying long?

>> A hundred years.

The professor's decided to

settle in here.

>> And this -- lunch was ready

two hours ago, and they go for a


>> [ Singsong voice ] They're


They're coming.

Don't make a fuss.

>> [ Chuckles ] Extraordinary


>> [ Chuckles ]

>> Tomorrow we'll go to the

forest reserve, Papa.

Would you like to?

>> Beautiful.

Wonderful scenery. Ah.

Let me take that, Alexander.

>> Ladies and gentlemen,

lunch is ready.

>> Oh, my friends, would you be

so good as to have mine sent to

the study?

>> Mm-hmm.

>> I still have some work to do.



Ivan Petrovich.

>> I'm...

>> Doctor.

>> ...sure you'll like the

forest reserve.

>> It's hot.

It's stifling, and our great

scholar wears a jacket and

carries an umbrella.

>> So, he takes good care of


>> And how good-looking she is,


How good-looking.

In all my life, I've never seen

a more beautiful woman.

Those eyes...

[ Exhales sharply ]

A marvelous woman.

>> Tell me something,

Ivan Petrovich.

>> What can I tell you?

>> Is there anything new?

>> Nothing.

It's all old.

I'm the same as I was.

[ Chuckling ] Or maybe worse.

I've grown lazy.

I don't do anything.

I just grumble like an old fart.

My old, cruel mama keeps on

babbling about women's


I mean, she's got one foot in

the grave, and she still

searches in her clever books for

the dawn of the new life.

>> And the professor?

>> The professor, as usual,

sits in his study and writes,

from morning till night.

[ Dramatically ] With a strained

mind and with a furrowed brow,

in writing, writing odes we

spend our days, and neither they

nor we win any praise."

[ Normal voice ] The poor paper.

He'd do better to write his


Oh, then -- See?

Now, there -- there's a

superlative subject.

A retired professor, you see?

A -- An old crust.

[ Chuckles ] An educated

codfish, gout, rheumatism,

migraine, liver bloated with

jealousy and envy.

This dried codfish lives on his

first wife's estate -- well, is

forced to live here because he

can't afford to live in town.

But he complains eternally

about his bad luck,

when, in fact, he's been

incredibly lucky.

Just think how lucky.

The son of a simple sexton,

a seminarian, earned advanced

degrees and a department chair,

became "his excellency," a

senator's son-in-law, and so on

and so forth.

That's not what matters, but --

get this -- for exactly 35

years, the man's been lecturing

and writing about art.

And he knows exactly nothing

about art.

35 years, he's been rehashing

other people's ideas about, uh,

naturalism and realism and

the rest of that nonsense.

For 35 years...

been lecturing and writing about

what intelligent people have

long known and stupid people

aren't interested in, meaning

that for 35 years, he's been

pouring from empty into void.

And all that time, such

self-importance, such


I mean, he's -- he's retired,

and now not one living soul

knows about him.

He's completely forgotten,

meaning that for 35 years, he

was sitting where he didn't


But look at him striding around

like a demigod.

>> Well, it sounds like you're


>> Yes, I'm envious.


what success with women.

I mean, no -- no Don Juan ever

had such complete success.

[ Stammers ]

His first wife, my sister --

beautiful, meek creature,

pure as the blue sky,

noble, magnanimous, had more

suitors than he had students,

loved him as only pure angels

can love those as pure and

beautiful as themselves.

And my mother, his -- his

mother-in-law, adores him to

this day.

And to this day, he inspires a

sacred awe in her.

[ Exhales sharply ]

His second wife -- intelligent,

a beauty -- you just saw her --

married him when he was already

old, bestowing on him her youth,

her beauty, her freedom...

her radiance.

What for?


>> Is she faithful to the


>> Yes, unfortunately.

>> Why unfortunately?

>> Because this faithfulness

is false from beginning to end.

A lot of rhetoric in it, but

there's no logic.

>> Mm.

>> To, uh -- To betray an old

husband she can't stand --

[ High-pitched voice ] Oh,

that's immoral.

But to try and stifle her poor

youth and living feeling --

that's not, uh...

>> [ Sighs ]

>> I came here for your husband.

You wrote that he was very

sick -- rheumatism and something

else -- but it turns out he's

perfectly well.

>> Last night, he was moping.

He was complaining about pains

in his legs, but today he's


>> And I nearly broke my neck

galloping 20 miles?

Well, never mind.

It's not the first time.

I'll stay with you till tomorrow

and at least get to sleep

quantum satis.

>> Wonderful.

You so rarely stay the night

with us.

We now have supper at 7:00.

>> Ahh.

>> Nanny, some peasants have


Go and talk to them.

I'll serve the lunch.

>> The soup's cold.

>> We'll have it cold.

>> Everything alright, Mama?

>> I received a letter today.

>> Oh.

>> From Pavel Alexeyevich in


He sent his new pamphlet.

>> Interesting?

>> Interesting, but sort of


He refutes something that he

himself defended seven years


>> Hmm.

>> It's terrible.

>> Nothing's terrible.

It -- We're having lunch, Mama.

>> But I want to talk.

>> Yes, but for 50 years now,

we've been talking and talking

and -- and reading pamphlets,

and it's time we stopped.

>> Uncle Vanya, it's boring.

>> For some reason, you find it

unpleasant to listen when I


>> [ Scoffs ]

>> Forgive me, Jean.

You've changed so much over the

last year.

I hardly recognize you.

You were a man of firm

convictions, a shining light.

>> Oh, yes, I --

>> Thank you.

>> I was a shining light...

who never shone on anybody.

I -- I was a shining light?

[ Sighs ] Ah, there -- there

couldn't be a more -- a more

venomous joke.


Look how -- Look how old I am.

Until last year, I deliberately

tried to blind myself, as you do

with this scholasticism of

yours, so as not to see real


And I thought I was doing the

right thing.

But now -- [ Scoffs ]

Well, if you only knew.

I don't sleep at night out of

resentment, out of anger at

having so stupidly fiddled the

time away when I could have had

everything my old age now

denies me.

>> As if you're accusing your

former convictions, but the

fault isn't theirs.

It's yours.

You've forgot convictions are

nothing in themselves, a dead


There were deeds to be done.

>> Deeds?

>> Mm.

>> Not -- Not everyone is

capable of being a scribbling

perpetuum mobile like your your

Herr Professor.

>> What do you mean by that?

>> Grandma, Uncle Vanya,

I beg you.

>> Okay. Okay. I'll shut up.

I'll shut up.

I'll shut up and apologize.

[ Dog barking ]

>> [ Clears throat ]

[ Barking continues ]

And the weather is nice today.

>> Mm.

>> It's not hot.

>> Mm.

>> Such weather would be nice to

hang yourself.

>> Uncle.

What's wrong, Grandma?

>> What's the matter?

Mama, where you going?

>> Nanny, what did the peasants

come for?

>> Same old thing -- about the

empty fields.

Mikhail Lyvovich, others have

come for you.

>> Where from?

>> The factory.

>> The factory?

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Much oblige.

>> Mm-hmm.

Well, so I'll have to go.

It's annoying. Damn it.

>> What a shame. Really.

Do come for supper after the


>> No. I'll be too late.

No. Can't do it.

Tell you what, old girl -- go

get me that, uh, glass of vodka,


No. Can't do it.

In one of Ostrovsky's plays,

there's a -- there's a man with

a big beard and small ability.

That's me.

>> [ Laughs ]

>> Well, ladies and gentlemen,

allow me to, uh...

>> Mm.

>> If you ever stop by my place,

you and Sofia Alexandrovna, I'll

be really glad.

My estate is small.

It's only about 80 acres.

But if you're interested,

there's an exemplary orchard and

nursery such as you won't find

for 1,000 miles around, huh?

>> Mm.

>> Next to me is a state forest


The forester is old.

He's -- He's always sick, so

essentially I'm in charge of it


>> I've already been told that

you like forests very much, and

of course it might be of great

use, but doesn't it interfere

with your real calling?

>> God alone knows what a real

calling is.

>> You're a doctor, after all.

Is it interesting?

>> Yes. It's interesting.

>> Oh, very.

>> You're still a young man.

You look 36, 37?

And it -- well, it really can't

be as interesting as you say.

Forest and more forest?

It's monotonous, I would think.

>> Oh, it's extremely


Mikhail Lyvovich plants new

forests every year.

And he's already received a

bronze medal and a certificate.

He works to keep the old forests

from being destroyed.

If you hear him out, you'll

agree with him completely.

>> Thank you.

>> He says that forests adorn

the Earth, that they teach man

to understand beauty and inspire

a lofty feeling in him.

Forests make a harsh climate


In countries with a mild

climate, less effort is spent in

the struggle with nature, and

therefore human beings are more

mild and gentle there.

>> Mm.

>> People there are beautiful,

supple, responsive.

Their speech is refined.

Their movements are graceful.

With them, learning and the arts


Their philosophy is not gloomy.

Their relations with women are

refined and noble.

>> Bravo. Bravo.

That's all very...nice,

but not convincing.

So allow me, my friend, to go on

stoking my stoves with firewood

and building my barns with


>> Another, please.

You can stoke your stoves with

peat and build your barns of


Well, alright, cut wood when you

need to, but why destroy whole


Russian forests are groaning

under the ax.

Billions of trees are perishing.

The homes of beasts, of birds

are devastated.

The rivers grow fallow and dry


Wonderful landscapes disappear

beyond recall, and all that

because lazy man isn't smart

enough to bend down and pick up

fuel from the ground.

Isn't that so, Madame?

You'd have to be a senseless

barbarian to burn this beauty in

your stove, to destroy what we

cannot create.

>> Mm.

>> Mankind is endowed with

reason and creative powers to

increase what's been given to

him, but so far he's been

destroying, not creating.

There are -- There are fewer and

fewer forests.

The rivers are drying up.

Wildlife is disappearing.

The climate is ruined.

And with every day, the Earth

becomes poorer and uglier and --

You're looking at me ironically.

Everything I say, it seems

unimportant to you.

And maybe -- maybe I am, in

fact, just a -- a misfit.

But when I go past the peasants'

forest that I've -- I've saved

from being cut down or when I

hear the -- the rustle of the

young trees that I've planed

with my own hands, I'm aware

that, in a small way, the

climate is in my power, too.

And if, say, in 1,000 years,

mankind should, uh, become

happy, I'll have had a small

share of that, as well.

When I plant a birch tree and I

see how it -- it turns green and

sways in the wind, my soul is

filled with pride, and I...

Anyhow, my time is up.

>> [ Laughing ]

>> All this is probably just the

misfit in me.

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> Allow me to bow out.

>> [ Continues laughing ]

>> When will you come to see us?

>> I don't know.

>> In a month again?

>> [ Continues laughing ]

>> You behaved impossibly again,

Ivan Petrovich.

What need was there to annoy

Maria Vasilyevna, talking about

a -- a perpetuum mobile?

>> [ Laughs ]

>> And this morning you argued

with Alexander again.

It's so petty.

>> But what if I hate the man?

>> There's no reason to hate


He's the same as everybody else.

He's no worse than you.

[ Dog barking ]

>> If only...

you could see your face.

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> The way -- No, no, the way

you move.

And you're too lazy to live your


You're much too lazy.

>> I'm lazy and bored.

Everybody criticizes my husband.

Everybody looks at me with pity.

"Poor thing.

She's got an old husband."

Oh, the sympathy for me.

How I understand it.

It's what Astrov said just now.

You're all recklessly destroying

the forests, and soon there will

be nothing left on Earth.

You destroy human beings just as

recklessly, and soon, because of

you, there will be no

faithfulness or purity, a

capacity for self-sacrifice

left on Earth.

Why can't you look

dispassionately at a woman

who isn't yours?


It's because this doctor is


There is a demon of destruction

sitting in you all.

You have no pity for the forests

or the birds or women or each


>> I don't like this philosophy.

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> This doctor has a tired,

nervous face.

It's an interesting face.

Sonya obviously likes him.

She's in love with him, and

I understand her.

He's already come three times

since I've been here, but I'm


I haven't really talked to him.

I haven't been nice to him.

He thinks I'm wicked.

[ Both laugh ]


You and I are such good friends,

Ivan Petrovich, probably because

we are both dull, boring people.

Mm! Dull.

>> [ Laughs ]

>> [ Sighs, chuckles ]

Don't look at me like that.

I don't like it.

>> [ Stammers ]

How can I look at you any

other way?

You're my -- You're my

happiness, my life, my -- my

youth, my -- And I know the

chances of you returning my

feelings are slim.

>> Mm.

>> Precisely zero.

But I don't...

I don't need anything.

Just let me look at you.

[ Laughs ]


Let me -- Let me hear your


[ Both laugh ]





[ Thunder rumbling ]

>> [ Gasping, sniffling ]

Who's there? Is that you, Sonya?

>> It's me.

>> [ Inhales sharply, sighs ]

Lenochka. [ Chuckles ]

>> Here.

>> Unbearable pain.


>> Your blanket fell on the

floor, Alexander.

>> [ Groans ]

>> I'll close the door.

>> No. Don't.

It's stifling.

I dozed off, dreamed my left leg

belonged to somebody else.

>> Mm.

>> I woke up in excruciating


[ Sniffles ] No, this isn't

gout -- more like rheumatism.

What time is it?

>> Oh, it's, um, 20 past


>> In the morning, look for

Batushkov's poems in the


I think we have them.

>> What?

>> Look for Batushkov's poems.

I remember seeing...

Why do I have such trouble


>> You're tired.

It's -- It's the second night

you haven't slept.

>> They say Turgenev got angina

from gout.

Afraid it will be the same with


Cursed, repulsive old age.

Damn it all.

Now that I've grown old, I've

become disgusting to myself.

[ Chuckles ]

You all must be disgusted

looking at me.

>> The way you talk about being

old makes it sound like it's our


>> You're the first to find me



Of course, you're right.

I'm not stupid. I understand.

You're young. You're healthy.

You're beautiful.

You want to live, and I'm an old

man, almost a corpse.

So...I understand.

And of course, it's stupid that

I'm still alive.

But just wait a while.

I'll soon relieve you all.

I won't have to drag on much


>> I'm worn out.

For God's sake, stop talking.

>> Turns out, thanks to me,

everyone's worn out, bored,

wasted their youth, and I


>> Stop it.

>> content and enjoying


>> You're tormenting me.

>> I torment everybody, of


>> Unbearable.

Tell me -- what do you want

from me?


[ Sighs heavily ]

>> [ Exhales sharply ]

>> Hmm?

>> [ Groans ]


>> Well, then stop talking.

>> Ah. Strange.

Ivan Petrovich talks or that old

idiot Maria Vasilyevna, and

everybody listens, but if I

utter one word, everyone...

>> I beg you.

>> ...starts feeling miserable.

Even my voice is disgusting.

Well, supposing I am


>> Mm-hmm.

>> ...I'm an egoist, a despot.

Don't I have a certain right to

egoism, at least, in my old


>> Nobody is disputing your


>> Haven't I earned it?

Can it be -- I ask you -- that I

have no rights to a peaceful old


>> The storm's picking up.

It's about to start raining.

>> ...some attention from


>> [ Exhales sharply ]

>> [ Sighs ]

>> Nobody disputes your rights.

>> Mm.

>> To live all my life...

as a scholar...

>> Mm-hmm.

>> ...accustomed to my office,

the lecture hall and respected

colleagues, and suddenly,

without rhyme or reason,

to find myself in this crypt?!

>> Shh.

>> To have to see stupid people

every day, to listen to

worthless conversations.

I want to live.

I love success.

I love fame...

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> ...fanfare.

And here...

>> Mm.



>> ...I feel like an exile.

To pine for my past every day,

to follow other's successes,

to fear death.

And here...

they won't even forgive me

my old age.

[ Laughs ]

>> Wait. Be patient.

In five or six years, I'll be

old, too.

>> Ohh.

>> Papa, you yourself told us to

send for Dr. Astrov, and when he


>> What do I need your Astrov


>> refuse to see him.

It's inconsiderate.

>> He knows as much about

medicine as I do about


>> We can't invite the whole

medical faculty...

>> I won't even see the

blessed fool.

>> for the sake of

your -- As you like.

It makes no difference to me.

What -- What time is it now?

>> Uh, it's past midnight.

>> It's stifling.

Sonya, give me those pills.

>> Here.

>> Not those.

>> Please don't make a fuss.

>> Can't ask you for anything.

>> Maybe some people enjoy it,

but kindly spare me.

I don't like it.

>> [ Sighs ]

>> And I have no time.

I must get up early tomorrow.

I've got the haymaking.

>> There's a thunderstorm


You hear that?

[ Thunder rumbling in distance ]

Elena, Sonya, go to bed.

I've come to relieve you.

>> No. No.

Don't leave me with him.

He'll talk me to death.

>> Give them some peace.

It's their second night without


>> Let them go, but you go, too.

I thank you.

I beg you, in the name of our

former friendship.

>> Our former friendship?

Our former friendship.

>> We'll talk later.

>> Be quiet.

>> This is getting ridic--

>> Nanny, go lie down.

It's already late.

>> I can't very well lie down.

>> No one can sleep, everyone's

awake, and I alone am in bliss.

[ Chuckles ]

>> What is it, dear heart?

It hurts?

>> [ Groans ]

[ Sighs ]

>> My legs ache, too.

Oh, how they ache.

>> [ Groans ]

>> You've been ailing a long


Sonitchka's mother used to stay

up all night grieving.

She loved you so.

Old folks are like children.

They want somebody to pity them.

>> [ Groans ]

>> But nobody pities old folks.

Let's go to bed, dear heart.

Let's bright one.

I'll give you linden blossom


I'll -- I'll warm your legs.

I'll pray to God for you.

>> Ah. [ Chuckles ]

Let's go, Marina.

>> And my legs, too -- they


>> Yeah. Mnh.

>> Aw, how they ache.

Vera Petrovna used to grieve so,

to weep so.

>> [ Breathes deeply ]

>> You were still little and

stupid then, Sonitchka.

Come on, dear heart.

Come on.

>> Ah.

He wears me out.

I-I can barely stand up.

>> He wears you out.

>> [ Sighs ]

>> And I -- And I wear myself


>> [ Chuckles ]

>> It's the third night I

haven't slept.

>> Well...things aren't right

in this house.

[ Exhales sharply ]

Your mother hates everything

except for her pamphlets and the


The professor is exasperated.

He doesn't believe me.

And he's afraid of you.

Sonya is angry with her father.

She's angry with me.

She hasn't spoken to me

for two weeks now.

And you hate my husband and

openly despise your mother.

And I'm exasperated.

I've been on the verge of tears

20 times today.

>> Let's...

>> Things aren't right in this


>> ...drop the philosophy.

>> You're an educated,

intelligent man, Ivan Petrovich,

and I think that you should

understand that this world --

it perishes not -- not from

robbers, not from fires, but

from hatred, hostility from all

these petty squabbles.

You'd do better not to grumble,

but to make peace among us all.

>> Oh, first get me to make

peace with myself.

My dear.

>> Stop it.

>> The rain will soon pass, and

everything in nature will be

refreshed and breathe freely.

>> [ Sighs heavily ]

>> Only I won't be refreshed

by this storm.

Day and night, the thought

chokes me like a little demon

that my life has been

irretrievably lost.

I have no past.

It was stupidly wasted on

trifles, and the present is --

is terrible in its absurdity.

Here are my life and my love

for you.

Where can I put them?

What can I do with them?

>> Ah --

>> My love is perishing...

>> When you speak to me about

your love...

>> ...for nothing, like a ray of

sunlight falling into a pit.

>> ...I somehow go blank.

And I don't know what to say.

>> And I myself am perishing.

>> I'm sorry.

>> If you knew how I suffer from

the thought...

>> There's nothing I could

tell you.

>> ...that right next to me,

at this same house, another


>> Good night.

>> perishing -- yours.

What are you waiting for?

What cursed philosophy

prevents you?

Don't you see?

Don't you see?

>> Ivan Petrovich, you're drunk.

>> That's possible.

That's possible.

>> Where's the doctor?

>> He's there.

He's spending the night in my


>> So, you've been drinking...

>> It's possible.

>>, too?

>> It's possible.

>> Why -- Why do you do this?

>> Anything is possible.

Any-- Well, it resemble a life.

>> You never drank before.

And you never talked so much.

>> Don't interfere with me.

>> Go to bed.

>> Elena --

>> You bore me.

>> My dear.

>> Leave me alone.

>> My wonder.

>> It's really disgusting.

[ Sighs ]


10 years ago, I used to run into

her at my late sister's.

She was 17 then.

Why didn't I fall in love with

her then and propose to her?

It was so possible.

And she would now be my wife.


And now -- now we would both be

awakened by the storm.

And she would be frightened

by the thunder.

And I would hold her in my arms

and whisper, "Don't be afraid.

I'm here."

[ Laughs ]

Wonderful thought.

So good, I even laugh, but --

[ Groans, chuckles ]

Everything is mixed up in my


Why am I old?

Why doesn't she understand me?

Her rhetoric, her -- her lazy

m-moralizing, uh, her

nonsensical, lazy thoughts about

the world perishing.


I really hate it all.

But everything is --

[ Exhales sharply ]

Oh, how -- how deceived I've


I adored this professor,

this pitiful, gouty man.

I -- I worked like an ox for


Sonya and I run this estate out

to the last drop.

We've traded in linseed oil

like peasants, linseed oil,

peas, cottage cheese.

We ate less ourselves so as to

scrape kopecks together and send

him thousands.

[ Stammers ]

I was proud of him and his


I'm -- I lived and breathed

by him.

And everything he wrote and

uttered seemed brilliant to me.

My God.

And now he's retired, and the

sum total of his life can now

be seen.

And not one page of his work

will remain after him.

[ Laughs ] He's -- He's totally,

totally forgotten.

He's nobody.

A soap bubble.

And I have been deceived.

I see it. Stupidly deceived.

>> ♪ The master is sleeping

under the table ♪

[ Rain pattering ]

You're here alone.

No ladies.

>> Mm.

>> ♪ Dance, cottage

♪ Dance, stable

♪ The master is sleeping

under the table ♪

♪ Bum-bum-bum, bum-bum-bum,

bum! ♪

>> Shh.

>> ♪ Dun-dun-dun, dun!

>> No.

>> ♪ Doh

This thunderstorm woke me up.

Some rain, huh?

>> No.

>> What time is it now?

>> Damned if I know.

>> I thought I heard

Elena Andryevna's voice.

>> Oh, she was here just now.

>> Mm.

A resplendent woman.



>> Stop.

>> Medicines, prescriptions from

all over -- Kharkov, Moscow...


He's plagued all the towns with

his gout.

Is he sick, or is he pretending?

>> He's sick. He's sick.

>> Why are you so sad today?

You feeling sorry for the


>> Leave me alone.

>> Are you?

Or are you in love with the


>> No. She's my friend.

>> Already?

>> What?

What do -- What do you mean by


>> A women can only be a man's

friend in this sequence -- first

an acquaintance, then a

mistress, and, after that, a



I -- A -- A trite philosophy.

>> Yes, I admit I've become


I'm also quite drunk, as you


>> Ahh.

>> Usually I get drunk like this

once a month, and when I'm in

this state, I become impudent

and insolent in the extreme.

I breeze through everything,

undertake the most difficult

surgeries, and perform them


[ Both laugh ]

...make -- make the most

far-reaching plans for the


And in these moments, I no

longer see myself as a --

a misfit.

And I believe I'm of enormous

use to mankind.


>> [ Breathes deeply ]

>> And in these moments, I have

my own philosophical system,


And you, dear brothers -- you

all seem to me like little bugs,


[ Laughs ]

Ah, I could do with a drink.

There's still some Cognac left.

And at daybreak, we'll go to

my place.


>> What?

>> I have an assistant.

He never says "alright."

It's always "Alrighty."

>> [ Laughs ]

>> He's a terrible crook.


>> Alrighty.

>> [ Laughs ]

Excuse me.

I'm not dressed.

[ Rain pattering ]

>> You got drunk again with the

doctor, Uncle Vanya, two shining

knights made friends.

Well, he's always like that,

but why you?

At your age, it's quite


>> Age has nothing to do with


When there's no real life,

you live by mirages.

Anyhow, it's better than


>> The hay's all mowed.

It rains every day.

Everything's rotting.

And you're buys with mirages.

You've completely abandoned

the farming.

It's all left to me.

I am completely exhausted.

Uncle, there are tears in your


>> What?

What tears? There's nothing.

That's nonsense.

You looked at me just now like

your late mother.

My dearest, my sister.

My dearest sister.

Where is she now?

[ Crying ] If she knew...

Ahh. If she knew...

>> Knew what, Uncle?

>> Mnh.

It's -- It's painful.

It's not nice.

Never mind.

Later. Never mind. I'll leave.

>> Mikhail Lyvovich, just one

little moment?

>> I'm coming!

[ Footsteps approaching ]

What are your orders?

>> You can drink if it doesn't

disgust you, but I beg you not

to let my uncle drink.

It's bad for him.

>> Very well.

We won't drink anymore.

I'll go home now, signed and


Dawn will break while they're...

>> It's raining.

Wait till morning.

>> ...hitching up the horses.

The storm is skirting us.

We'll just get the edge of it.

I'll go.

And please don't send for me to

see your father anymore.

I tell him it's gout.

He says it's rheumatism.

I ask him to lie down.

He sits.

And today he wouldn't even

speak to me.

>> He's spoiled.

Would you like a bite to eat?

>> Yes. Why not?

>> I sometimes like to have a

bite in the middle of the night.

There seems to be something


They say he had great success

with women in his life and the

ladies spoiled him.

Have some cheese.

>> I didn't eat a thing all day.

I only drank.

Your father has a difficult


May I?

There's nobody here, so I can

speak openly.

You know, I don't think I'd last

a month in your house.

I'd suffocate in this

atmosphere -- your father who's

all sunk in his gout and his

books, Uncle Vanya with his

moping, your grandmother, and,

finally, your stepmother.

>> What about my stepmother?

>> Everything about a person

should be beautiful -- the face,

the clothes, the soul, the


She's beautiful, no question,

but she just eats, sleeps,

strolls around, enchants us all

with her beauty and -- and

nothing more.

She has no responsibilities.

Others work for her.

Isn't it so?

And an idle life can't be pure.

However, maybe I'm being too


I've grown dissatisfied with

life, like your Uncle Vanya.

And we're both turning into


>> So, you're displeased with


>> I love life in general, but

our provincial Russian

Philistine life I can't bear.

And I despise it with all the

strength of my soul.

As for my own personal life,

by God, there's absolutely

nothing good in it.

You know when you're walking in

the forest on a -- a dark night

and there's a little light

shining in the distance and you

don't notice your weariness nor

the darkness nor the prickly

branches hitting you in the


I work -- you know this --

harder than anyone else in the


Fate keeps dealing me blows.

At times, my suffering is


But for me there's no little

light in the distance.

I no longer expect anything

for myself.

I don't love people.

I haven't loved anyone for a --

a long time.

>> Not anyone?

>> Not anyone.

I feel a certain tenderness only

for your nanny, for old time's


The peasants are all alike --

uneducated, live in filth.

And it's hard to get along with

the educated ones.

They're tiresome.

Our good friends here, all of

them, have petty thoughts,

petty feelings.

They don't see beyond the end of

their own noses.

They're quite simply stupid.

And the ones who are more

intelligent, of higher caliber,

are hysterical, devoured by

analysis, by reflex.

They -- They whine.

They hate.

They're infected with slander.

They come at you sideways.

They look askance at you and

decide, "Oh, this one is a

psychotic," and, "Oh, this one

is a phrasemonger."

And when they -- they don't know

what label to paste on my

forehead, they say...

"He's a strange man."

"A strange man."

I love the forests.

Ah, that's strange.

I don't eat meat.

That's also strange.

A pure, a free, a

straightforward attitude towards

nature and people -- it no

longer exists.

No. No.

>> No. I ask you. I beg you.

Don't drink anymore.

>> Why?

>> It just doesn't become you.

You're refined.

You have such a gentle voice.

Even more than that, like no one

else I know, you're beautiful.

Why do you want to be like

ordinary people who drink and

play cards?

Ugh. Don't do it. I beg you.

You keep saying that people

don't create, they only destroy

what's given to them from above.

Why, then?

Why do you destroy your own


Don't. Please don't. I beg you.

I implore you.

>> I won't drink anymore.

>> Give me your word.

>> My word of honor.

>> Thank you.

>> Basta. I'm sobered up.

I'm completely sober and will

remain this way till the end of

my days.

And so let's continue.

I say...

my time's already gone by.

It's too late for me.

I've aged.

I'm overworked.

I've become trite.

My senses have all gone dull.

And it seems I can no longer be

attached to anybody.

I don't love anybody.

And I never will.

If there's one thing that still

captivates me, it's beauty.

I'm -- I'm susceptible to it.

I think that if Elena Andryevna

wanted to, she could -- she

could turn my head in a single


That's not love. No.

That's -- That's not attachment.

[ Rain pattering ]

[ Sighs ]

>> What's the matter?

It's just, during Lent, I had a

patient die under chloroform.

>> It's time you forgot about


>> [ Chuckles ] Yes. Yes.

>> Tell me, Mikhail Lyvovich,

if I had a friend or a younger

sister and you learned that --

Well, suppose she was in love

with you.

How would you respond to it?

>> I don't know.

I probably wouldn't.

I'd let her know that I couldn't

be in love with her, that my

head was occupied with other


In any case, if I'm going to

leave, it's time I did.

Otherwise, we'll go on till


I'll go out the back if I may.

Otherwise, I'm afraid your, uh,

uncle will keep me here.

Goodbye, dear girl.

[ Smooches ]

[ Rain pattering ]

>> He didn't say anything to me.

His heart and soul are still

hidden from me.

But then why do I feel so happy?

I said to him, "You're refined,


You have such a gentle voice."

Did it seem inappropriate?

And when I said that about a

younger sister, he didn't


It's so terrible that I'm not


It's so terrible.

And I know I'm not beautiful.

I know.

I know.

Last Sunday, as people were

leaving church, I heard them

talking about me, and one woman

said, "She's kind, generous.

It's too bad she's not

beautiful, not --"

[ Dog barking ]

>> The storm's over.

The air feels so good.

Where is the doctor?

>> He left.

[ Barking continues ]

[ Exhales sharply ]

[ Objects clattering ]

[ Chair legs scrape ]

>> Sofie.

>> What?

>> How long are you going to

pout at me?

We haven't done each other any


Why should we be enemies?


>> I also want it.

No more being angry.

>> That's perfect.

>> Has Papa gone to bed?

>> No.

He's just sitting in the drawing


[ Chuckles, sniffles ]

You and I haven't spoken to each

other for weeks now.

God knows why that is.

What's that?

>> Mikhail Lyvovich.

>> He left that?

Let's drink.

To our friendship.

>> Yes. Let's.

>> From the same glass.

It's, um, better like that.

>> I've been wanting to make

peace, but I somehow kept

feeling ashamed.

>> us?

>> To us.

>> [ Sighs ]

>> [ Cries ]

>> Why are you crying?

>> [ Sniffles ] No reason.

I just am.

>> Well, there, there now.


You funny girl.

Now I'm crying, too.

>> [ Chuckles, sniffles ]

>> You're angry with me because

it seems I married your father

for money.

But if you believe in oaths, I

swear to you I married him for


He -- He fascinated me as a

scholar and a famous man.

It wasn't real love.

It was artificial, but it -- it

seemed real to me then.

I'm not to blame.

And ever since our wedding, you

have never stopped punishing me

with your intelligent,

suspicious eyes.

>> What? Peace now.

Peace. Let's forget --

>> You shouldn't look at people

that way.

It doesn't become you.

You should...

You should trust everybody.

Otherwise, life is impossible.

>> Tell me in good conscience,

as a friend --

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Are you happy?

>> No.

>> I knew it.

One more question.

Tell me frankly -- would you

like to have a young husband?

>> Oh, what a little girl you

still are.

Of course I would.

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> Ask me something else.

Go on.

>> Do you like the doctor?

>> Yes.

>> [ Chuckles, sniffles ]

>> Very much.

>> I look silly, don't I?

He's gone now, but I can still

hear his voice and footsteps.

>> Mmm.

>> And glancing at the dark

window, I imagine his face


Let me say it all, but I can't

talk so loudly.

I'm ashamed.

Let's go to my room.

We can talk there.

Don't I seem silly to you?

Admit it.

>> Mm.

>> Tell me something about him.

>> Like what?

>> He's intelligent.

He knows everything.

>> Mm.

>> He can do everything.

He cures people.

He plants forests.

>> No, the point -- it isn't,

um, forests and medicine.

Understand, my dear -- he has


Do you know what it means

to have talent?

It's, uh...boldness...

freedom of mind, breadth of


He plants a little tree, and he

already tries to guess what will

come of it in 1,000 years.

He already pictures mankind's


Such people are rare.

They should be loved.

He drinks.

He's sometimes a bit rude.

But what's the harm in that?

In Russia, a talented man can't

be all pure.

[ Both laugh ]

Think for yourself what a life

this doctor has -- muddy,

impassible roads, frost,

blizzards, coarse, savage

people, poverty and disease all


In such circumstances, it's hard

for someone who -- who works and

struggles day in and day out to

stay pure and sober till they

reach 40.

[ Both laugh ]

You deserve happiness.

I wish it.

I wish it with all my heart.

[ Both chuckle ]


I'm a -- I'm a bore.

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> Yeah.

I'm a minor character in music,

in my -- my husband's house, in

all my romances.

In short, everywhere, I've been

a minor character.

As a matter of fact, Sonya, now

that I think about it, I am

very, very unhappy.

[ Voice breaking ] There's --

There's no happiness for me

in this world.

There's no happiness.

Why are you laughing?

>> I-I'm so happy. I'm so happy.

>> Ah. I'd --

I'd like to play the piano.

>> Yes!

Play. I can't sleep.

>> Maybe I'll play something


>> Play.

>> One second.

Your father's not asleep.

When he's, um, sick, music

annoys him.

Go and ask him.

If he doesn't mind, I'll play.


>> One second.

>> I, um...

[ Voice breaking ] I haven't

played the piano in a long time.

I'll -- I'll play, and I'll cry.

I'll cry like a fool.

[ Breathing deeply ]

[ Dog barking ]

[ Whimpering ]

[ Breathing deeply ]

[ Humming ]

>> You can't.

>> Oh.


[ Breathes deeply ]

[ Chuckles ]






>> Herr Professor deigned to

express the wish that we all

gather here by 1:00.

It's quarter to 1:00.

He wants to impart something to

the world.

>> [ Chuckles ] It's probably

about doing something.

>> He doesn't do anything.

He writes nonsense, grumbles,

and gets jealous, nothing else.

>> Uncle!

>> I'm sorry.

Take a look at that --

reeling from laziness.

Nice, very nice.

>> You keep droning, droning all

day long.

Aren't you sick of it?

>> [ Laughs ]

>> I'm dying of boredom.

I don't know what to do with


>> There's a lot to do.

You just have to want to.

>> Like what?

>> Help with the farm work?

Teach? Nurse the sick?

>> I don't know how.

>> There's a lot.

Before you and Papa came,

Uncle Vanya and I would go to

the market ourselves to sell


>> Besides, that's not


It's only in ideological novels

that people nurse and teach the


How could I suddenly up and

start nursing and teaching them?

>> I don't understand how you

can not go and teach them.

You'll get used to it after a


Don't be bored, my dearest.

You're bored, you don't know

what to do with yourself, and

your boredom and idleness are


Look. Uncle Vanya does nothing.

He only follows you around like

a shadow.

I drop all my chores and come

running to talk to you.

I've grown so lazy, I can't tell


Dr. Mikhail Lyvovich used to

visit us very rarely, once a


It was hard to get him here.

And now he comes every day,

abandoning his forests and his


You must be a sorceress.

>> Why are you languishing?

>> Leave me alone.

>> [ Laughing ] My dear, my --

my resplendent one.

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> Oh, be a smart girl.

[ Exhales sharply ]

A m-- A mermaid's blood flows

in your veins.

So be a mermaid.

Let yourself go for once in your


Fall in love up to your ears

with some water sprite.

>> That is so cruel.

>> Plunge headlong...

>> Even a saint wouldn't have

patience enough.

>> ...into the depths so that...

>> You must agree.

>> ...the Herr Professor and all

of us just throw up our arms.

>> You must agree.

>> Alright. Alright, my joy.

Forgive me. I apologize.


[ Birds chirping ]

As a token of peace and harmony,

I'm gonna bring you a bouquet of


[ Chuckles ]

I prepared it for you this

morning -- autumnal roses,

sad and lovely roses.

>> [ Sighs ]

>> [ Laughs ]

[ Birds chirping ]

>> Autumnal roses!

[ Imitating Vanya ] Sad and

lovely roses.

>> It's already September.

How are we gonna live here

through the winter?

>> [ Sighs ]

>> Where's the doctor?

>> In Uncle Vanya's room...

writing something.

I'm glad Uncle Vanya left.

I need to talk to you.

>> What about?

>> What about?

>> Enough, enough, enough.

>> He doesn't seem to notice me.

I've started going up to him.

I start talking to him.

I look in his eyes.

I have no pride anymore...

no strength to control myself.

I've loved him for six years


I love him more than my own


I hear him every moment.

I feel his hand shake.

I look at the door. I wait.

I keep thinking he's about to

come in.

And now you see -- I keep coming

to you to talk about him.

He comes here every day now.

But he doesn't look at me.

He doesn't see me.

Oh, God, give me strength.

I prayed all night.


>> Mm-hmm?

>> ...I couldn't help myself

and confessed to Uncle Vanya

that I love him.

Everybody knows.

>> And he?

>> I don't know.

I don't know.

>> He's a strange man.


>> Hmm?

>> Do you want me to talk to


>> What?

>> Do you want me to talk to


I could.

I don't think it'd be hard to

find out, and I'd -- I'd

question him carefully.

If you just need to know

yes or no.

Is that right -- just yes or no?

>> That's right.

>> Enough, then.

Let me talk to him.

We could do it right now.

He's been wanting to show me

some charts.

Go and tell him that I'd like to

see his charts, and I'll talk to


I think the truth -- whatever it

may be, it has to be better than

not knowing.

>> And then you'll tell me

everything -- everything?

>> Of course.

But if it's a no, should I tell

him to stop coming here?

>> Yes.

He sh-shouldn't come here.

No. Not knowing is better.

Then there's still hope.

Never mind.

I'll tell him...

you want to see his charts.

[ Birds chirping ]

>> There is nothing worse than

knowing another person's secret

and not being able to help.

He doesn't love her.

That's obvious.

But why shouldn't he marry her?

For a country doctor at his age,

she would make an excellent


[ Sighs ]

She's smart, very kind...


I understand the poor girl.

In the midst of desperate

boredom, when -- when some sort

of gray blurs are wandering

around instead of human beings,

when all you hear are

banalities, when all they do is

eat, drink, sleep, he comes

sometimes, unlike all the rest.

He's handsome, interesting,

fascinating, like a bright moon

rising in the darkness.

To succumb to such a man's

charms, to -- to forget


I think I'm even a bit attracted



I'm bored without him.

And see how I smile when I

think of him.

He comes here every day now.

I can guess why he's here,

and I already feel guilty.

I'm ready to fall on my knees

before Sonya, to apologize,

to weep.

[ Chuckles ]

But this Uncle Vanya says that

there's a, um -- a mermaid's

blood flowing in my veins,

to let myself go at least once

in my life.



maybe I should.

I should just fly away like a

free bird from all of them,

from their -- from their

lifeless faces, their

conversations, just forget that

they exist.

I'm, uh, timid.

I'm a coward.

My conscience would torment --

[ Footsteps approaching ]

>> Good afternoon.

You wanted to see my artwork.

>> Um...

Yesterday you promised me you'd

show me what you're doing.

Are you free now?

>> Oh. Of course.

>> Mm.

>> Where were you born?

>> In Petersburg.

>> And educated?

>> At the conservatory.

>> For you, this, uh, probably

won't be interesting.

>> Why?

It's true.

I don't know country life.

But I've read a lot about it.

>> I have my own table here in

the house, in Ivan Petrovich's


When I am completely worn out to

the point of utter stupefaction,

I drop everything and come

running here and amuse myself

with this stuff for an hour or


Ivan Petrovich and

Sofia Alexandrovna click on the

abacus and I -- I sit beside

them at my table and I daub


And I find it warm, peaceful.

And the -- the cricket chirp.

But I don't allow myself this

pleasure very often, maybe

once a month.

Now look here.

>> Oh.

>> Hmm.

>> Ah.

>> Thank you.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> The picture of our district

as it was 50 years ago.


The dark and light green colors

indicate forests.

Half of the entire surface is

taken up by forests.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Where there's red

crosshatching on green, it means

that moose and wild goats lived


I indicate both flora and fauna.

On this lake lived swans, ducks,

geese, and, as the old folks

say, there was a power of birds

of all sorts, countless numbers

of them, huge flocks flying


Besides villages and hamlets,

you see there were various, uh,

settlements scattered here and

there, farmsteads, old

believers' hermitages...

>> Mm.

>> ...water mills, lots of

cattle and horses, indicated by

the color blue.

For instance, in -- in this

area, it's dark blue.

There were whole herds of horses


And there were three horses for

every farm.

Now let's look lower.

There's how it was 25 years ago.

Here, only 1/3 of the whole area

is under forest.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> There's no more wild goats,

but still some moose.

The green and blue are more pale

and so on and so forth.

Now let's go to third part,

the map of the district

in our -- in our time.

>> Ah.

>> [ Chuckles ]

There's some green here and

there, not solid, but patchy.

The moose, the swans, the wood

grouse have disappeared.

Of the former hamlets,

farmsteads, hermitages, water

mills, not a trace.

>> Mm-hmm.

Thank you.

>> In general, the picture of a

gradual and unquestionable

degeneration which will take

some 10 to 15 more years to

become complete.

>> Mm.

>> You'll say it's the influence

of civilization, that the old

life -- it should naturally

yield its place to the new.

And, yes, I understand if these

destroyed forests were to be

replaced by highways and

railroads, factories, mills and

schools were to come, then the

people would become healthier,

wealthier, smarter, but there's

nothing of the sort.

It's the same swamps and

mosquitos, impassable roads,

abject poverty, typhus,

diphtheria, fires.

We're dealing here with a

degeneration caused by the

desperate struggle for

existence, a degeneration from

stagnation, ignorance, a total

absence of self-awareness.

When a cold, hungry, sick man,

in order to salvage what's left

of his -- his life, to save

his -- his children, he

instinctively, unconsciously

seizes upon anything that can

appease his hunger and keep him

warm, destroying everything

without thinking about tomorrow.

Almost everything has already

been destroyed, and yet nothing

has yet been created in its


>> Oh.

>> I see by your face that, uh,

you're not interested.

>> No, it's just I understand

so little about it.

>> There's nothing to


You're simply not interested.

>> To be frank, my mind is


Forgive me.

I need to interrogate you a

little, and I'm -- I'm


I don't know how to begin.

>> Interrogate?

>> Yes.


But it's quite innocent.

Here. Um, sit down.

It concerns a certain young


We'll talk as honorable people,

as friends, without beating

around the bush.

We'll talk and then forget what

we talked about.


>> Alright.

>> It has to do with...

my stepdaughter -- Sonya.

Do you like her?

>> Yes. I respect her.

>> Do you, uh, like her as a


>> No.

>> Another two or three words

more, and we're done.


Have you noticed anything?

>> No.

>> You don't love her.

I can see that by your eyes.

But she is suffering.

Understand that and stop

coming here.

>> But my time's already gone

by, and also I'm -- I'm busy.

When could I?

>> What an unpleasant


I'm as nervous as if I've been

carrying a ton of weight on my


Well, thank God it's over.

We'll forget it, as if we hadn't

talked at all, and leave.

You're an intelligent man.

You understand.

[ Chuckles ]

I've even turned all red.

>> If you had told me about this

a month or two ago, then I might

have thought it over, but now...

And if she's suffering, then of

course, but there's one thing

I don't understand.

What was the need for this


Aren't you a sly one.

>> What do you mean?

>> A sly one.

Let's suppose that Sonya's


I'm willing to grant that.

But why this interrogation?

Excuse me. Don't look surprised.

You know perfectly well why I

come here every day, why and

for whose sake I come.

You know perfectly well,

my dear predator.

>> Predator?

>> Don't look at me like that.

I've been around.

>> I-I don't understand.

>> A beautiful, furry weasel.

You need victims.

I've done nothing for a month.

I've dropped everything,

greedily seeking you out.

And you'd like it so much,

so much.

Well, then, I'm defeated.

And you knew this without any


I surrender. Go on.

Gobble me up.

>> You're out of your mind.

>> Aren't you a timid one.

>> No.

I'm better than you think.

I am above that. I swear to you.

>> I'll leave here today.

I won't come back.

But where will we see each


Tell me quickly. Where?

Someone may come in.

Tell me quickly. One kiss.

Just to kiss your fragrant hair.

>> I swear to you.

>> Why swear?

There's no need to swear, no

need for superfluous words.

How beautiful. What hands.

>> [ Stammers ] Enough. Go away.

>> Say then.

Say where we'll see each other


You see, my love, it's


>> Spare me.

>> We must see each other.

Come to the forester's hut

tomorrow at 2:00.


>> Let me be.

>> Yes?

>> No.

>> Will you come?

>> Let go of me.

>> It's stifling in here.

[ Exhales sharply ]

>> Drink some water then.

Actually, the weather's not too

bad today, Ivan Petrovich.

The, uh, morning was overcast.

It looked like rain, but now

it's dry and sunny.

I like autumn weather.

The only thing is that the --

the days have gotten shorter.

>> I'll leave here,

Ivan Petrovich.

I'll leave this place.

>> Alright, Elene.


>> I-I have to leave.

Mm. [ Sniffles ]

[ Chuckles nervously ]

>> [ Clears throat ] What --

What did he say -- the doctor?

>> Later.

>> You're trembling.

You're upset. I see.

He said he wouldn't come here

anymore, right?

Am I right?

>> Oh.


you're right.

>> I knew it.

>> Ah, Sonya, you're here.


Sonya, where are you going?

I need you here.

She doesn't listen to me.


>> What?

>> Please sit down.

Where is Ivan Petrovich?

>> He just went out just now.

>> Ask him to come in.

People wander away.

You can never find them.

Sonya, please sit down. Mm.

[ Breathes deeply ]

Illness I can live with.

It's this disorder of country

life I can't get used to.

I feel as if I've fallen from

the Earth onto some alien


Ah, there you are.

Maria Vasilyevna -- where is


>> I'll find her.

>> Please sit down.

>> Maybe I'm not needed.

Can I go?

>> No, no, no, no, no.

You are needed most of all.

>> Oh, how may I be of use to

you, sir?


>> "Sir."

What are you angry about?

If I have done you any wrong,

please forgive me.

>> No, let's get down to


What do you want?

>> Ah, and here is -- here is


You will sit here.

Now, no one leave.

Nanny? Nanny, Nanny.

You sit, too.



[ Chuckles ]


I will begin.

I have invited you here to

announce that an inspector

is coming!

[ Both laugh ]

Joking aside, this is a serious

business, huh?

I have gathered you here, ladies

and gent-- ladies and gentlemen,

to ask for your help and advice.

And knowing your customary

courtesy, I hope to receive


I am a learned, bookish man, a

stranger to practical life.

I cannot do without the guidance

of knowledgeable people.

And therefore I beg you,

Ivan Petrovich, and you, mama.

The thing is...

manet omnes una nox, that is.

We all walk under God.

Um, I'm old, ill, and therefore

it is timely that I put into

order what relates to my

property, in so far as my family

is concerned.

My life is over.

I'm not thinking of myself.

But I have a young wife and an

unmarried daughter.

>> Sonya.

>> To go on living in the

country is impossible for me.

We are not made for the country.

But to live in town on what we

receive from this estate is


We might, I suppose, sell the

wood lot, but --

>> No.

>> No, that is --

>> Uh...

>> That is an extraordinary

measure that cannot be resorted

to every year.

We need to find measures that

will provide us with a regular,

more or less definite income.

I believe I have found one such

measure, and I have the honor of

presenting it to you for


Omitting the details, I will lay

it out in general terms.

Our estate produces no more than

2% income...

>> Yeah.

>> ...on average.

I propose...we sell it.

If we invested the money in

interest-bearing securities, we

will earn between 4% and 5%,

and, I think, there will even be

a surplus of several thousand,

which will allow us to buy

a small summer house in Finland.

>> Hold on.

Uh, I -- I think my ears are

deceiving me.

Repeat what you just said.

>> To invest the money in

securities and, with whatever

sum remains, to buy a summer

house in Finland.

>> No, not -- not Finland.

You also said something else.

>> I propose to sell the estate.

>> That's it.

You'll sell the estate?

>> Ah.

>> Alright.

A, uh, rich idea.

And -- And where will you have

me go, with my old mother and

Sonya here?

>> We will discuss all that

in good time.

>> No, no, no, no.

>> Not everything at once.

>> Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

Hold on.

Obviously, up to now, I haven't

had a drop of good sense.

Up to now, I was foolish enough

to think that this estate

belongs to Sonya.

My late father bought this

estate as a dowry for my sister.

And up to now, I'd been naive.

I didn't understand the laws in

Turkish fashion and thought that

the estate passed from my sister

to Sonya.

>> Of course the estate belongs

to Sonya.

Who's arguing?

>> Oh. Alright.

>> I wouldn't decide to sell the

estate without Sonya's consent.

>> Inconceivable.

>> Besides, I propose...

>> I mean, it's inconceivable.

>> sell it for Sonya's


>> Okay, either I've lost my --

my mind, or I'm --

>> Jean, don't contradict


Believe me -- he knows better

than we do what's good and

what's bad.

>> No, no, no.

Uh, may I have some more water?


Go on. Say -- No.

Say whatever you like, whatever

you like.

[ Chuckles ]

>> I don't understand why you're

so upset.

I'm not suggesting that my

proposal is ideal.

If others don't like it, I won't


[ Chuckles ]

>> Mnh.

My -- My father --

My father bought this estate.

>> Yes. And what's the point?

>> He -- He bought it for

95,000, but my father paid only

70,000 and was left owing


Now, listen, all of you.

This estate wouldn't have been

bought if I hadn't renounced my

inheritance in favor of my

sister, who I deeply loved.

What's more, for 10 years, I

worked like an ox and paid off

the whole debt.

>> I'm sorry I started this


>> No, no.

The estate is free of debt

and in good order, owing only to

my personal efforts.

And now, when I've grown old,

you want to kick me out?

>> I don't understand what

you're getting at.

>> For 35 years, I've been

managing this estate...

working, sending you money,

like a conscientious steward.

And in all this time, you never

once thanked me.

And in all this time, both when

I was young and now, I received

a salary from you of 500 rubles

a year, a beggarly amount.

And it never once occurred to

you to add even one ruble to it.

>> But, Ivan Petrovich, how was

I to know?

I'm not a practical man.

I don't understand these things.

You could have added as much as

you wanted.

>> Oh, why -- why didn't I


Oh! Why didn't --

Don't you all despise me for not


Well, it would have only been

fair, and now I wouldn't be a


>> Jean.

>> Don't --

>> No. Li-- For 35 years, I sat

with this mother of mine like a

mole within these four walls,

and all our thoughts and

feelings belonged to you alone!

By day, we talked about you,

about your work and how proud

we were of you.

Our nights we wasted reading

magazines and books, which I now

deeply despise.

>> Don't, Vanya. Don't.

>> But for us, you were a being

of a higher order.

And we knew your articles by


>> I can't --

>> But now my eyes are open.

I see everything.

You write about art, but you

know nothing about art.

>> I don't understand...

>> All your works, everything I


>> ...what it is you're getting


>> ...not worth a kopeck.

You've made dupes of us.

>> Ivan Petrovich, I demand that

you be quiet.

>> I won't be quiet!

>> Oh, for God's sake --

>> Wait! I haven't finished!

>> Calm him down.

>> No! You've ruined my life!

You ru-- I never --

>> Please, please!

>> I never lived.

I never lived, thanks to you!

I destroyed, I annihilated the

best years of my life!

>> Uh-huh.

>> You are my worst enemy!

>> I don't understand what it is

that you want.

And by what right do you speak

to me that way?!

>> Uh --

>> Nonentity!

>> Aah!

>> If the estate is yours,

take it.

I don't need it!

>> My life's a waste!

I'm talented, intelligent,


If I'd had a normal life, I

could have been a Schopenhauer,

a Dostoevsky!

Oh, my -- What did I say?!

[ Cries ] I'm losing my mind.

Mama! Mama, I'm --

I'm desperate, Mama.

Mama, what am I to do?

>> Listen to Alexander, dear.

>> [ Gasping ]

[ Groans ]

[ Stammers ]

[ Sighs ]

>> Listen to him.

>> [ Laughing ]

What on Earth is going on?

Someone free me from this


Either he moves to the village,

or I move out.

I will not live under the same


>> We could leave here today.

We could arrange everything this

very minute.

>> Nonentity.

>> Be merciful, Papa.

Uncle Vanya and I are so


Be merciful.

Remember when you were younger,

Uncle Vanya and Grandma spent

nights translating books for

you, copying your papers night

after night.

Uncle Vanya and I worked without


We were afraid to spend a kopeck

on ourselves and sent it all to


We earned our -- [ Stammers ]

I'm not saying it right, Papa.

[ Sniffles ] I know I'm not.

But you must understand us,


Be merciful.

>> Alexander...for God's sake,

go and talk to him.

I beg you.

[ Sniffles ]

>> [ Inhales sharply ]


>> [ Sighs ]

>> Alright.

I will go and talk with him.

I'm not accusing him of


I'm not angry.

But you have to admit his

behavior is very strange.

>> Mm.

>> But if you wish.

[ Exhales heavily ]

I will go and talk with him.

>> Be gentle with him.

>> Ah.

>> Calm him down.

>> Mm.

>> Never mind, child.

God is merciful.

Linden tea or raspberry,

and it --

[ Gunshot ]

>> Aah!

[ Dogs barking ]

Calm him down!

Calm him down!

He's out of his mind!

>> Give it to me.

>> No, don't.

No, don't. Stop!

>> Give me the gun.

>> Uncle Vanya...

>> Ah, there he is!

Aah! Bang!


Blast and damn!

>> Take me away from him!

>> Damn! Damn!

>> Kill me! I cannot stay here!

>> What am doing?

What am doing?!



[ Dogs barking ]


>> They've already sent for the


They'll call us soon to say


They're going to live in

Kharkov -- to live there!

>> So much the better.

>> They got scared.

Elena says, "I don't want to

spend another hour here.

We'll leave. We'll leave.

We'll live in Kharkov for a

while, see how it is, and then

send for our things."

They're traveling light.

>> So much the better.

To live to see such a thing.

We'll start living again

as we were, like we used to,

tea at 8:00, lunch at 1:00.

In the evening, we'll sit down

to supper, all in good order,

like people do, Christian


I haven't eaten noodles in a

long time.

Poor, sinful me.

>> Yes, it's quite a long time

since we've had noodles on the

table, quite a long time.

>> Where's the doctor?

>> He went into the garden.

We've been searching all over

for Uncle.

We're afraid he'll do away with


>> Where's his pistol?

>> I hid it in the cellar.


>> Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh.

Don't -- Don't --

>> Uncle.

>> No, no, no, I --

[ Sighs ]

Uh, I...

>> Lord, help us.

>> No, don't -- don't --

Go away.

I can't stand being looked at.

[ Sighs ] Leave me alone.

>> With great pleasure.

I ought to have gone long ago,

but I repeat -- I won't leave

until you give me back what you

took from me.

>> I didn't take anything

from you.

>> I'm serious.

Don't keep me waiting.

I should have gone long ago.

>> I took nothing from you.

>> Sofia Alexandrovna, now, your

uncle filched a vial of morphine

from my medicine bag and won't

give it back.

Tell him that's really not


And I have no time.

I've got to go.

>> Uncle Vanya, did you take the


>> He did. I'm sure of it.

Listen, if you're so intent on

killing yourself, go to the

forest and shoot yourself there,

but give me back the morphine.

Otherwise, there will be talk,


People will think I gave it

to you.

It's enough for me that I'll

have to perform the autopsy.

Do you think that'll be


>> Give it back!

Why do you scare us?

Give it back, Uncle Vanya.

Maybe I'm just as unhappy

as you are, but I bear it.

And I'll go on bearing it until

my life ends.

You bear it, too.

Give it back.


Dear good uncle, nice uncle,

give it back.

You're kind.

You'll feel sorry for us

and give it back.

Bear it, Uncle.

Bear it.

>> [ Exhales sharply ]

Oh, there. Take it.

I don't -- [ Stammers ]

[ Cries ]

[ Sighs ]

[ Stammers ]

>> I thank you.

Could you get my medicine bag?

>> [ Inhales sharply ] Aah!

[ Exhales sharply ] Aah!

[ Groans ] Aah!

To play such a fool.

Oh, to shoot twice and miss

both times.

I'll never forgive myself.

[ Groans ]

>> If you were so eager to

shoot, you could have fired at,

uh, your own head.

>> It's strange.

I -- I try to -- I try to commit

a murder, and they don't arrest


They don't take me to court.

[ Gasps ] Ugh.

It means they think I'm crazy,


Ahh, I'm the crazy one, not

those who hide their mediocrity,

their obtuseness, their blatant

heartlessness behind a mask of

professor, learned magician.

No, not -- not those who marry

old men and then cheat on them

in front of everybody.

[ Gasps ] I saw it.

I saw you embrace her.

>> Yes, sir. I did.

>> No, it's the world that's

crazy for putting up with all of


>> That's stupid.

>> Well, I'm crazy,

irresponsible, so I have the

right to say stupid things.

>> That's an old trick.

You're not crazy.

You're just a misfit, a buffoon.

I used to consider every misfit

sick, abnormal, but now I'm of

the opinion man's normal

condition is to be a misfit.

You're perfectly normal.

>> [ Voice breaking ] I'm...


If -- If you knew how ashamed

I am...

No pain can compare with this

sharp sense of shame.

It's unbearable.

[ Stammers ] Oh, what am I to


What am I to do?

>> Nothing.

>> Oh, come on.

Oh, give me -- give me a little


[ Stammers ] Say I live till 70.

That means I got 10 years to go.

That's long.

What -- How -- How will I live

out those 10 years?

What will I do?

[ Exhales sharply ]

What will I fill them with?

You see?

You see?

If it was possible to live the

rest of your life in some...

new way, to wake up on a bright,

quiet morning and feel that you

were beginning life anew and

all -- all the past was

forgotten, scattered like smoke,

to beg-- to begin a new life --

Tell me how to begin, what to

begin with.

>> Come on.

What new life?

Our situation, yours and mine,

is hopeless.

>> Yeah?

>> I'm convinced of it.

>> Oh, give me a little


There's a burning here.

>> Stop it.

Those who will live 100 or 200

years after us and will despise

us for having lived our lives so

stupidly, so tastelessly --

maybe they will find a way to be


But we -- for you and me,

there's only one hope, the hope

that when we're lying in our

coffins, we'll be granted

visions, maybe even pleasant


>> [ Chuckles ]

>> Yes, brother, there were only

two respectable, intelligent men

in the whole district --

you and me.

>> [ Groans ]

>> But in some 10 years, this

Philistine life, this -- this

contemptible life, it sucked us


Its stinking fumes poisoned our

blood, and we became as trite

as everybody else.

>> [ Exhales sharply ]

>> Let's go.

You and Papa have to make peace.

It's necessary.

>> We're leaving,

Ivan Petrovich.

Go to Alexander.

He wants to say something to


>> [ Laughing ] What -- What --

What does he want to say?

>> Let's go, Uncle Vanya.

>> [ Groaning ]

>> And as soon as we see them

off, we'll sit down and work.

We've neglected everything.

>> Now I can be on my way.

>> We're leaving. Goodbye.

>> Already?

>> They've already brought the


>> Goodbye.

>> You promised me today that

you would leave here.

>> I remember.

>> [ Sighs ]

>> I'll leave right now.

You got scared.

>> [ Exhales sharply ]

>> Is it so frightening?

>> Yes.

>> Why not stay, hmm?

>> No.

>> Tomorrow we'll meet.

>> It's already decided.

>> Forester's hut, huh?

>> I'm looking at you so bravely

because it's already decided

we're leaving.

I ask one thing of you.

Think better of me?

I would you to respect me.

>> Ah. Stay. I'm asking you.

Admit you've got nothing to do

in this world.

You have no aim in life, nothing

to occupy your attention, and

sooner or later you'll give way

to your feelings.

It's inevitable.

And it's better if it's not in

Kharkov, not somewhere in Kursk,

but here, in the bosom of


At least it will be poetic.

The autumn is even beautiful.

Here there's a forest,

half-ruined country mansions

straight out of Turgenev.

>> You are so funny.

I'm angry with you.

But still I will remember you

with pleasure.

You are an interesting,

original man.

And we will never see each other

again, so why hide it?

I even felt slightly attracted

to you.

Here, let's, um...

Let's shake hands, part as


No bad feelings?

>> Yes. Go.

>> [ Sighs ]

>> You seem to be a good,

kind-hearted person, but there

also seems to be something

strange in your whole being.

You came here with your husband,

and everybody who was working

here, scurrying around, creating

something, had to drop what they

were doing, spend the whole

summer attending to your

husband's gout.

And you -- you both, you and

he -- infected us all with your


I got attracted.

I spent a whole month doing

nothing, and during that time,

people were sick.

Peasants let their -- their

cattle graze in my forest

amongst the young trees.

So, wherever you and your

husband set foot, you bring


I'm joking, of course, but, uh,

still, it's strange, and I'm

convinced that if you stayed,

the devastation would be


I'd be done for, and things

wouldn't turn out well for you,


So, yes, go.

Finita la comedia.

>> I'm taking this pencil...

to remember you by.

[ Chuckles ]

>> It's strange.

We got acquainted, and suddenly

somehow, for some reason, we'll

never see each other again.

>> Mm.

>> The same with everything

in the world.

While nobody's here, before

Uncle Vanya returns with his,

uh, bouquet, allow me to kiss

you in farewell.

May I?

>> [ Sighs ]

>> There.


>> [ Breathing heavily ]


>> [ Sighs ]

I think they're coming now.

>> Thank you for your pleasant


I respect your way of thinking,

your pursuits, your enthusiasms.

We're packed, huh?


>> Have yourself photographed

again and send me the picture?

>> Mm-hmm.

>> You know how dear you are

to me.

>> Goodbye.

>> Forgive me.

We'll never see each other


>> Goodbye, dear man.

>> You'll, uh, regularly receive

what you received before.

Everything will be as it was.

>> Mmm.

[ Glass thuds ]

Allow an old man one observation

upon parting.

There are deeds to be done,

ladies and gentlemen.

[ Chuckles ]

Deeds to be done.

[ Dogs barking ]

Best to all.

>> Tell them to bring my horses

while they're at it.

Why don't you go and see them


>> Let them go. I --

I can't. It's hard for me.

[ Sighs, clears throat ]

[ Barking continues ]

[ Bells jangling ]

>> They've gone.

The professor's glad, no doubt.

>> They've gone.

>> Nothing in the world could

lure him back.

>> They've gone.

God grant them a safe journey.

I'm sad that they've gone.

>> They've gone.

>> Well, Uncle Vanya, let's do


It's a long, long time since we

sat together and worked.

First of all, Uncle Vanya, you

do the accounts.

We've neglected them terribly.

Today again someone came about

their account.

There's no ink in this.

>> So, the pens will scratch

again, and the cricket will


It's quiet, warm, cozy here.

I don't feel like leaving.

[ Dogs barking, bells jangling ]

They're bringing my horses, so

it only remains for me to say

goodbye to my friends, to say

goodbye and off I go.

>> What's the rush? Sit awhile.

>> I can't.

>> And when shall we see you?

>> Not before summer.

Winter's unlikely, of course.

If, um, anything happens,

let me know.

I'll come.

Thank you for your hospitality,

for your kindness -- in short,

for everything.

>> You're welcome.

There's no ink.

[ Barking continues ]

[ Footsteps departing ]

>> [ Breathes deeply ]

[ Barking continues ]

Goodbye, old girl.

>> So, you'll up and leave

without eating?

>> I don't want anything, Nanny.

>> How about a nip of vodka?

>> Well, maybe that, yes.

[ Barking continues ]

My outrunner -- it's gone a bit


I noticed it yesterday when

Petrushka took him to be


>> Oh, he -- he should be


>> I'll have to stop at the

blacksmith's in Rozhdestveno.

>> [ Chuckles ]

>> No way around it.

[ Both laugh ]

>> Take it.

To your health, dear heart.

>> [ Sighs ]

>> And have a bit of bread.

So, all for the best.

[ Barking continues ]

>> Mikhail Lyvovich, the horses

are ready.

>> I know.

Don't see me off.

There's no need.

[ Barking continues ]

[ Bells jangling, barking

continues ]

>> He's gone.

[ Footsteps approaching ]

>> Which account is that,

Uncle Vanya?

>> Uh...

Mr. Kalugin.

[ Breathes deeply ]

February 2nd, linseed oil,

20 pounds.

February 16th, again, linseed

oil, 20 pounds, buckwheat.

15, 25, plus the two.

75 already owed.

My's so hard for me.

[ Clears throat ]

Oh, if you knew how hard it is

for me.

[ Clears throat ]

>> What can we do?

We've got to live.

We'll live, Uncle Vanya.

We'll live through a long, long

string of days, of drawn-out


We'll patiently endure the

trials destiny sends us.

>> [ Breathes deeply ]

>> We'll work for others now and

in our old age, knowing no


And when our hour comes, we'll

obediently die, and there,

beyond the grave, we'll say that

we suffered, that we wept,

that it was bitter for us,

and God will take pity on us.

And you and I, Uncle, dear

Uncle -- we'll see a bright,

beautiful, refined life.

We'll rejoice.

And we'll look back at our

present misfortunes with


with a smile.

And we'll rest.

>> [ Breathes deeply ]

>> Lord, help us.

>> I believe this, Uncle.

I believe this fervently...


We'll rest.

We'll rest.

We'll hear the angels.

We'll see the sky all in


We'll see how all the evils of

the Earth, all our sufferings,

are drowned in mercy, which will

fill the whole world.

And our life will become quiet,

gentle, sweet as a caress.

I believe this.

I believe this.

Uncle Vanya, you're crying.

You haven't known any joys in

your life, but wait.

Uncle Vanya, wait.

[ Inhales sharply ]

We'll rest.

[ Elizabeth & The Catapult's

"Someday Soon" plays ]

We'll rest.



We'll rest.

>> [ Gasps lightly, exhales ]


[ Applause ]



[ Cheers and applause ]



>> ♪ Someday soon, it's gonna

get easier ♪

♪ It's gonna get better

♪ Someday soon

♪ Someday soon, it's gonna

sound like nothing ♪

♪ Nothing was silent

between me and you ♪

♪ Someday soon, we're all gonna

surrender ♪

♪ We're all gonna give up now

♪ And give in to the blue

♪ Someday soon, I won't look

any farther ♪

♪ Just across the table

♪ Me over to you

♪ Ooh

♪ Ooh

♪ Ohh, ohh



[ Cheers and applause ]

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"Theater Close-Up" is provided


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"Uncle Vanya" is provided by...