WORLD PREMIERE                
Adapted from Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya
By Lavina Jadhwani

Directed by Kaiser Ahmed
Presented at The Edge Theater
5451 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640

By Margaret Baughman

On VANYA (or, “The Essay I Didn’t Want to Write”)

“But if you want to build a muscle, then you need both stress and rest. You have to lift just a little more weight than your body is used to… and the next time you can lift even more.” -- VANYA (or, “That’s Life!”): Act One, Scene One

When Lavina Jadhwani asked me to work on this play, I was excited.

Anton Chekhov’s UncleVanya continues to be one of the greatest and continually relevant of plays – concerned with family relationships, broken hearts, and the rampant disappointment of midlife crisis. In this hilarious and sharp reinvention, there is great providence in the shattering of a teacup, time moves backwards, and our bored, sad Chekhovian friends have a tendency to lapse into singing American Indie folk tunes. What could be more Russian? Or American?

Jadhwani – O’Neill Theater Center / National New Plays Network Fellow and former Rasaka Theatre Artistic Director – and Ahmed – Jackalope Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director were integral to the success of Rasaka’s 2014 and 2015 hit productions: A Widow of No Importance, Washer/Dryer and A Nice Indian Boy.

“After our well-received production of Multitudes, we are excited to present a fresh, multicultural take on Chekhov’s classic family story. VANYA (or That’s Life!”) continues our tradition of telling stories that sharply and emotionally examine the myriad issues that tear families apart – and what keeps them together,” said Kamal Hans, Rasaka Theatre’s producing artistic director.


Priya Mohanty (U/S)
Subhash Thakrar (U/S)
Brenna Welsh (U/S)

*Denotes actors represented by the Actors’ Equity Association.


Producing Artistic Director for Rasaka Theatre: Kamal Hans
Associate Artistic Director for Rasaka Theatre: Alka Nayyar
Co-Producer for Rasaka Theatre: Anish Jethmalani
Director: Kaiser Ahmed
Stage Manager: Kathleen Dickinson
Production Manager: Danielle Stack
Set Designer: Andrew Swanson
Lighting Designer: Cat Wilson
Sound Designer: Matt Reich
Costume Designer: Ana Culajay
Props Designer: Corrine Bass
Publicity: Alka Nayyar
Graphic Design: Kim Lyle
Production Photographer: Scott Dray