Tamas Ascher Set to Helm Blanchett - Led Uncle Vanya for Syndey Theatre Company in 2010

By: Nov. 05, 2009

One of the world's foremost interpreters of Chekhov, Tamás Ascher, the Hungarian director of Ivanov which was a major hit at this year's Sydney Festival and around the world, will direct Uncle Vanya, a highlight of Sydney Theatre Company's 2010 Main Stage Season. The production at Sydney Theatre in November 2010, featuring Co Artistic Director Cate Blanchett alongside John Bell, Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving in a new adaptation by Co-Artistic Director Andrew Upton, is already proving to be the most popular choice for 2010 Season Ticket holders. 

Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett said: "Tamás is one of the great modern explorers of Chekhov and we believe this amazing collision of sensibilities will result in a truly unique imagining of Vanya."

In Upton's adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, on a dilapidated, remote farm Uncle Vanya and his niece Sonya have worked slavishly to sustain an estate in decline. And so it has been for years. Now Professor Serebryakov and his beautiful young wife, Yelena, have returned to visit. Adding to the chaos and disruption are the constant visits of the charismatic Astrov. Lunch is no longer served at lunch time - now it is procrastinated until dusk - work is forgotten and the long, cool nights have become sleepless. From this hotbed of disarray grow three consuming love affairs, each of which is destined to wither in disappointment before it has reached bloom. It is in this climate of frustration and hopelessness that the Professor chooses to unveil his shocking plan to sell the estate. Faced with an uncertain future, Vanya is provoked into an act of violence which is as humiliatingly unsuccessful as his attempts at romance.

Tamás Ascher's productions have been seen in more than forty countries. He has a long association with the great Hungarian theatre company Katona József Theatre, where his stagings in recent years have included Ivanov (Chekhov), The Threepenny Opera (Brecht-Weill) and Revenge (Kleist). Among other significant productions in his distinguished career are Mozart's Idomeneo (Budapest Opera) and Don Giovanni (Lyon Opera), Ostrovsky's A Profitable Position (Hungarian National Theatre), Gombrowicz's Ivona, Princess of Burgundia (Akademietheater Vienna), Ionesco's The Lesson (1997, Akademietheater Vienna) and Molière's The Misanthrope (Helsinki). His legendary production of Three Sisters for Katona József toured all over the world and was part of the repertory for ten years. 

Having graduated from the Academy of Theatre Arts in Budapest in 1973, Ascher worked as a director for Csiky Gergely Theatre in Kaposvar. Between 1978 and 1981 he worked for the Budapest National Theatre. Since 1983 he has worked at the Katona József Theatre, while maintaining his position of Artistic Director in Kaposvar. He also lectures at the Academy of Theatre Arts in Budapest. 

Working with Ascher for Uncle Vanya will be the design team whose work was also seen at Sydney Festival in Ivanov: set designer Zsolt Khell and costume designer Györgyi Szakács. Rob Brookman, General Manager of Sydney Theatre Company said: "The take up for Season Tickets for STC's 2010 season has been fantastic so far and is trending well ahead of the last four years. The announcement that Tamás Ascher will be at the helm of Uncle Vanya will make it even more of a must-see for those still considering their play packages. I would urge people to get their season ticket applications in soon to secure good seats for this production and the many other superb productions on offer next year. " 

The priority booking period for those purchasing 2010 Season Ticket continues until November 30 2010. Uncle Vanya opens November 9, 2010 and runs through December 11. TIckets start at $40. For more information, visit www.sydneytheatre.com.au

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