Uncle Vanya“, a story about family, romance, wealth, home and power and the jealousies that come with it, was written in the late 1800s by the Russian playwright Anton Checkov. I had the privilege of seeing this piece at Pasadena Theater in June.

A retired teacher owns a country estate that his daughter Sonya and brother-in-law Uncle Vanya run. When he visits the estate with his beautiful, young new wife Yelena, Uncle Vanya and the local doctor fall in love with her, creating a complex web of emotions and drama.

Watching the play, I could clearly see the relationships that each actor had carefully crafted for their character. I could see the time they put into every emotion, action, and reaction of their characters. I was also able to learn more about the challenges that each character goes through. For example, I noticed that Uncle Vanya started to get a little more prettied up every time he came in to make a scene, right up to his depression at the dining table after seeing Yelena and the doctor s ’embrace.

Uncle Vanya’s meltdown at the end of the play was truly remarkable. He has an intense scene at the dining table, with the rest of the family, where he convulses in anger at the professor for taking everything for granted, at Yelena for kissing the doctor, and at himself for staying and working. to the domain. for so many years without recognition. The actor, Hugo Armstrong, was in such a rage for this scene that his face was painted red with rage. Armstrong was so convincing it looked like he was going to throw the dining chair into the audience.

The actors’ commitment to getting to know their characters and bringing them to life was palpable.

Despite all these incredible performances throughout the show, there were still a few scenes that surprised me. For example, I never saw the tension build up in the relationship between the Doctor and Yelena. Yelena asked the Doctor if he had feelings for Sonya, and upon his response, they kissed. Their kiss felt so sudden, as if it was just in the room to serve as Vanya’s “last straw”, the impetus for him to explode on her family.

After watching the show, I had the privilege of talking to a few of the cast members. It was a pleasure to hear about the acting journeys of Hugo Armstrong (Uncle Vanya) and Sabina Zúñiga Varela (Sonja). I could tell that both actors were very dedicated to their craft, even with the constant rejections and rejections from auditions.

Armstrong even mentioned that he didn’t originally audition for Vanya, but rather for the doctor. It was only after the perseverance of the casting team that he decided to audition for Vanya. He thought he was too big to play Vanya, so after a night of online bootlegs from “Uncle Vanyahe found a production with a “fat” Vanya. It showed and inspired Armstrong that he could definitely play Vanya, and all he had to do was trust himself and audition.

Overall, the cast and crew made the show incredibly beautiful and smooth with their talent and determination to bring the story to life.