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“Man is endowed with reason and power to create, so that he may increase that which he has been given him, but until now he has not created, but demolished. The forests are disappearing, the rivers are running dry, the game is exterminated, the climate is spoiled, and the earth becomes poorer and uglier every day.”

-Milkhail Astrov 

Is it possible to make the world a better place or it is just an illusion? 

Do we have the power to change the world or are we destined to be defeated? 

 As these questions become more and more salient in our society, Noord Nederlands Toneel dusted off a Russian classic trying to find an answer. Here Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya appears in a new guise to interpret the dilemmas of the 21st century. The Russian playwright is renowned for creating characters suspended between their eagerness to act and their inability to do so, and life invariably catches up with them. They all want to live different lives but are eventually trapped in their old ways. In our society, these individual challenges become societal ones: we are aware of the need to drastically change and adapt our lives for the survival of the planet, and yet, we find ourselves stuck in an unsustainable daily routine. 

 Can we escape our own illusions? Can we reinvent ourselves? Uncle Vanya tries to overcome this human impasse but eventually finds his efforts are vain. Director Liliane Brakema encapsulates the human struggle between action and stillness with compassion but leaves it up to our conscience to embrace our role in society. The reflection does not touch the urgency of change anymore, but rather our very ability to create change, to be the change. Because #changeisnow. 


The performance is accompanied by English surtitles: the words of the actors are translated simultaneously at the top of the stage. In every production, NNT strives to make theatre accessible to everyone. Because we can #bebettertogether.

“One hundred years from now,the people who come after us […] will they think kindly of us? Will they remeber us with a kind word? I wish to God I could think so.”




Tue 13 Oct 20:00

Uncle Vanya

Schouwburg,Theater Rotterdam

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