Posts Tagged ‘uncle vanya

30
Aug
17

A Chat With Michael Beh, Director of The Curators’ Uncle Vanya

 

Eleonora Ginardi chatted with Michael Beh, Director of The Curators’ Uncle Vanya, before the season finishes in Bardon, Brisbane, on Saturday.

 

 

Why did you decide to direct Uncle Vanya?

I wanted to focus on the story of these characters and the facts of what they were going through.  Back in 1895 when Chekov wrote it – it’s exactly the same as today.  This was about love and lost love, and going for love and the feeling of being let down by love, and what is at stake all the time when you put yourself out there.

 

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What was your Artistic Vision?

I wanted to tighten up the play make it a little bit shorter to modernise it without taking it out of the world of Chekov and for that reason we brought it forward to the 20th Century.  It’s kind of got vintage costumes from the 30s, 40s and 50s, and so it is kind of located sometime in the 20th Century, or maybe it’s just lost in the midst of time.  It does not have to be what Russia was as it certainly is not styled in Russia – it’s not Russian then, but it has got a sense of being Russian.  It was wonderful that we were able to get a version of Crazy by – what is her name – Patsy Cline.  So we wanted a version of it to start the show. Peter met with a Russian lady in Brisbane and she translated the song into Russian and sent it to her daughter, who recorded it in New York and sent it back to us.

 

Well I loved it and Crazy is actually one of my favourite songs.  Why did you choose that song?

The whole point is that Vanya is crazy – crazy in love, crazy out of love, shot two times, missed did not even get arrested, could not even get locked up.

 

So, was he crazy from the start?

No he is a man going through the feelings that so many men go through.  I think maybe I go through and so many men feel let down by the choices in your life and I think that is something we can all reflect on. 

 

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Can you share some of the process that led you to making directorial choices?

Why did I make those choices,  I asked, what did I give up?  And because I gave that up this is how I ended.  We did this wonderful exercise for a whole weekend where we work-shopped the scenes of the play.  We went back and improvised we looked at the beginnings of all the stories and their characters relationships.  We did “improv’ after “improv” after “improv’ that never appeared on the stage but they fed the stage.  We did other things like a modern dance version one evening but all we did was a modern dance interpretation of the scenes and that really fed Sherry’s work.  So we tried lots of different strategies to unlock the texts to make it not just “talking heads”. I did not want “talking heads” I wanted physical bodies and the other thing I was interested in were montages that were slowly moving, and we have two or three of those in the play where moments/time seem to stop and the moment is extended out a little bit.  I wanted to make it beautiful so audiences could really experience and love the lushness of their relationship.”

 

I think that is a signature trait of the work you do – that lush and beauty, and aesthetic beauty in it.

What do they say – that beauty is difficult…

 

 

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