Soho Rep’s star-laden staging of Uncle Vanya is already sold out—sorry, guys—so this edition of “Favorite Moment” will have to take the place of actual theatergoing for you ticketless chumps out there.
Towards the end of the play’s second act, step-relations Yelena (Maria Dizzia) and Sonya (Merritt Weaver) reconnect after years of detachment and mistrust. They share a drink and gossip over the midnight oil, and once they’ve exposed their insecurities and desires, finally come to see each other as sisters in angst. By sharing their hearts, everything feels renewed and possible, and Yelena wants to celebrate with music, even though it’s been years since she’s tickled her piano’s ivories.
So Sonya rushes out in excitement to ask permission of her father (it’s the middle of the night and he isn’t well). Several expectant seconds pass.
But when Sonya reenters the room, all hope deflates: “He said no,” she exhales in sadness.
With that, not only does the possibility of music disappear, all hope of escape, beauty, and redemption evaporates, too. It’s a gorgeously awful moment of heartbreak, and in this Sam Gold production, it’s as devastating as ever.
by Anton Chekhov
at Soho Rep
directed by Sam Gold
Pictured: Maria Dizzia and Michael Shannon. Photo by Sara Krulwich