I have often wondered about what makes something a classic. Such a label, I think, must have something to do with the passage of time. But the persistent admiration of two playwrights in particular – Chekhov and Noel Coward – just mystifies me. Do they matter anymore? Although I’ve seen it many times, I finally read Vanya. Say what you will about the influence Chekhov has as a writer, I just don’t get the resilient appeal of this play. What’s new here? What still resonates? How is this play different from all of his other plays?

The only thing I learned this time is that Vanya is the same age as me, which is kind of depressing.

If you are going to see it, I recommend this version. You should also pay attention to the great soundtrack that Joshua Redman provides.

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