Lame Adventure 326: Uncle Vanya and Tom Hanks

Currently the Lincoln Center Festival is happening here in New York.  Lincoln Center describes this festival as “an effort to look outside the Western European canon, to broaden notions of classicism by presenting classical works from other parts of the world.”  Milton got us tickets to Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya as staged by the Sydney Theatre Company, a theater company run by Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton.

Upton adapted Chekhov’s play and Tamás Ascher directed the terrific cast starring Blanchett as the ravishing Yelena.  Hugo Weaving, and Jacki Weaver, who first came to our attention when we saw her in the film, Animal Kingdom, in 2010 are amongst her co-stars.  Milton was certain that this limited ten-day run was going to garner rave reviews and would be a very tough ticket.  He was right.  This story about bleak love-starved bumblers spending summer together in a run down estate was both hilarious and sad.  It’s not every day that I can declare misery so entertaining.  Milton pronounced Blanchett’s performance, “Luminescent.”  She is sensational on stage and I feel very fortunate to have finally seen her grace the boards.

The theater where this play is being performed is the cavernous New York City Center.  It seats 2,750.  I am quite sure that the entire brief run is sold out.  We sat in the last row of the mezzanine, seats that were rather high and quite far from the stage.  At intermission Milton announced:

Milton:  We’re sitting so far away I don’t recognize anyone.  Which one’s Jacki Weaver?

Me: Jacki’s the nanny.  Cate’s the sexy blonde.  Hugo Weaving’s the doctor.

Milton:  Oh, that’s him? Good to know.

Even without knowing who was who, and seeing it from seats located in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, it was a brilliant production and very entertaining.

There were tiers of theater above and behind us.  I think those sections were located upstate.

It is against theater policy to take photographs of the production, and we did not want to get kicked out.  While waiting for me outside the theater Milton did take this gotcha shot of Tom Hanks with an unidentified female companion.

Tom Hanks pays the price of fame: Milton’s iPhone gotcha shot.

Odds are good that he sat considerably closer than us.  When Milton was in the men’s room he noticed Bill Irwin at the urinal, but he resisted taking his picture.  I’m sure there were other famous people in our audience, but since I emptied my bladder before leaving my garret, I did not scope out the women’s restroom.


51 responses to “Lame Adventure 326: Uncle Vanya and Tom Hanks

  1. thank you for not snapping photos of ladies in the loo. much appreciated.


  2. “Seats located in Englewood Cliffs”! Ha!

    I love Hugo Weaving. I wish I had known about this play. Meh.

    I wonder what would have happened if Milton had mimed something at Bill Hicks at the urinal.


  3. Oh man Tom hanks would have ridden the sweet train of international stardom smoothly if it weren’t for you meddling kids and your iPhone!


  4. Quite simply, and fundamentally, I love anything Chekhov has written. Even considering your view from Englewood Cliffs you were favored by the stars to be in attendance.


    • I was favored by Milton since he snagged those tickets almost the second they went on sale. It was his birthday gift to me. What a guy! As for the production, had you been there Samantha, I’m sure you would have been thoroughly entertained it was so spot on.


      • I know I would have loved it. And, for Milton, my birthday is Sept. 14, and then I might possibly have one Oct. 14 and Nov. 14; but, frankly, I’ve had too many as it is. I wouldn’t mind having them if I didn’t have to age.


        • 38 would have been a nice cut off aging-wise over here even though I was stilling getting carded until 48. Seriously, WTF was that about? Now I’ve entered ma’am-hood. Don’t like that either.


          • NOW, when I go to the liquor store to buy my wine, the little man in the cash register says “Verify age.” What, like am I too OLD? I hate ma’am-hood, too.


            • That’s brilliant — too old!. A few weeks ago I met a 28-year-old friend for drinks after work. She gets carded frequently but I agree with Milton that she looks over 21. It’s ridiculous. Our waitress turned to me and said in a cheery affected tone, “I know you just turned 22!” It took all of my power of self control to resist quoting the Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer, “When I never nothing to say my lips are sealed.”


  5. Just your LA luck to have to sit in New Jersey! Hope you didn’t get a nose bleed.


  6. Checkov. Love that bloke: almost English if he weren’t so damn Russian. Sounds like a must-see.


    • If Cate and her theater company ever play anywhere near your neck of the woods, even if she’s clad head to toe in a bear suit opposite some newcomer as Goldilocks, go see her. She is marvelous on the boards. I, too, love Chekhov. His stories transcend time but I’ve always been rather partial to misery.


  7. Go Milton! I would still be fumbling for my phone like I did when 2 moose walked right in front of us while we waited in the ski lift line….


  8. HArd to imagine a theatre with over 2500 people watching!!


    • It’s a bit like an airplane hangar but with nice sightlines. If you’d like to know this theater’s history click here. Thanks for visiting and commenting.


      • That’s an interesting history. Some clever thinking to save the building. Glad they did. It’s beautiful. I am doubly glad that so many dance companies use this theater stage. I am a fan of both historical preservation and “the dance”, not to mention beautiful, ornate old theaters.


        • It’s a beautiful building that I’ve walked past several times never realizing that it was once a masonic temple even though it looks exactly like a temple. [Insert Homer Simpson saying, “D’oh!”] Milton thought it looked much nicer from whenever he was last there, so I’ll take his word that the renovation was a success. That was my first time there and I thought it was a lovely space with very comfy seats.


  9. There’s a thought. Maybe Milton can start a spinoff from Your Lame Adventures blog. Maybe something along the lines of celebrity “privates” sightings from the restrooms of NYC’s theaters and watering holes. I would imagine that there are numerous copyright as well as decency laws that would serve as impediments, but inquiring minds probably would want to know. The logistics of public urinals pretty much guarantees that this site would be male only. Not sure that you could get the right angle from a stall for the female equivalent. But I’ll leave that one open to debate.


  10. Dude. Milton rocks. 🙂


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