I don’t know why this post is so late because I read my play weeks ago and so there’s no good excuse for the delay.
I can’t blame Hanukkah, which passed quietly and beautifully, with friends, with latkes, with brisket, with the growing glow every night, the plastic blue dreidel hidden in a new spot every night (and H having less and less trouble finding it year after year).
I can’t blame the weather, which has been crazily mild. No shoveling cars free, no breaking ice out of goat water buckets, no digging gates free, no stomping trails with snowshoes, no roof clearing. No me swearing and shivering and announcing plans to move to Italy.
I can’t blame work, or the internet, or a busy schedule, or my unfocused mind, or Republican candidate debates, or El Niño, or my sprained ankle, or the books I want to read and the movies I want to watch, or the window I catch myself staring out of, counting birds, wasting time.
No, my only excuse is that I don’t know how to talk about this play, Uncle Vanya, without sounding like a gibbering idiot. I’m afraid to write anything here because nothing I can say will do it justice.
Nothing I can write will properly convey the feelings it stirs up in me of envy (Chekov’s exact-yet-conversational, perfect writing), wonder (the breadth of subjects covered, the emotions, details and concrete gestures packed into so few words), despair (the sad desperation of Vanya, of Sonya, of Yelena), hope (in Sonya’s final speech; in Waffles’ acceptance; in Marina’s pragmatic outlook, make the tea, feed the chickens, offer a little vodka).
Wistfulness, in the filmed version, from the shake of jingle bells, conjuring the snow, departure, the beginning of a long row of days.
It’s not enough to say how much I love this play. How reading it (or watching the filmed version of it) it has become a yearly delight for me in the last 15 or so years.
I don’t know how to tell you how, every time I begin it again, I somehow lose touch with how, by the end, I will be in tears, the kind of tears made of deep sadness blended with deep hope.
Of the tenderness I feel toward the play and its people, and its author.
I don’t know how to tell you, except to tell you… read it. See it. Read it.
Our books for this month:
- H ~ Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
- M ~ A Winter’s Tale, by William Shakespeare
- R ~ Uncle Vanya, by Anton Chekhov (translated by Annie Baker)
And you? Did you read a play? Tell us what you thought of it.
The category for the coming month is:
See you back here in the new year… January 11, 2016!
This post is part of our multi-year reading challenge. We’d love to have you join us for the whole challenge or any portion. Take a look at the checklist to see the current category (in green). We’ll announce the next category in the middle of next month.