When I was in college, I did a very bad job at playing Sonya in a very bad production of Uncle Vanya
. Oh, how I wish back then that my lack of acting skills could have been helped by the low-key eloquence of the dialogue in this adaptation by Annie Baker. In this stripped-down, true-to-the-original translation, Baker cuts out all the fuss and clutter of the usual British-Chekhov translations while keeping it funny, accessible, and full of heart. I’m a longtime Chekhov fangirl — I’ve read many different translations, and I’ve gone as far as Moscow to see and experience the land and people that pepper his darkly comedic plays and short stories. But I realize not everyone is bitten by the same Russian-lit bug. So I’m grateful to Baker and to her translator, Margarita Shalina, for this version of Uncle Vanya, which is not only adored by Chekhov-philes like myself, but could be picked up and enjoyed by someone who has never experienced his work before. I hope this version of Uncle Vanya
will make Chekhov-lovers out of many generations to come.
— Emma Jeszke, editorial associate