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Uncle Vanya in student illustrations

Authors: Tomi Sokolov, Dora Pejić Bach, Zala Pribaković, Hana Černivec, Maja Jenko, Žiga Sever, Špela Guček, Marija Bobič, Tjaša Bon, Chen-Li-Hsuan

Mentor: doc. Suzi Bricelj

Department of Visual Communications Design (Illustration Programme)

Projektna naloga je nastala v zimskem semestru.

To illustrate Anton Pavlovich Chekhov’s play Uncle Vanya was a great challenge for the postgraduate students of illustration. Initially, they were daunted by the apparent static nature of the protagonists. However, through in-depth study and many discussions, the students found their way to the content and rendered it by way of their personal visual interpretation and presented it in a series of illustrations.
They identified the central theme as a narrative of people, stuck in live, having not fulfilled their potentials. In the interaction of the characters, the students detected basic human emotions such as love, envy, resentment and hatred, as well as longing, which made the play very contemporary. Despite their similar mental points of departure, their interpretations differ. Some found in the dialogues more of a comedy, while some have rather focused on the tragedy and futility of the characters’ fates.
The students were free to choose the medium for their series of illustrations. They feature as part of the theatre programme, adding to it a message and atmosphere that does not follow the performance only, but augments it with a different interpretation. Also, they create independent spatial installations in which the illustration is the key carrier of the content.
While working on the project, the students were naturally aware of the fact that the text is a “play” and have therefore attempted to “stage” it themselves. The book-object thus becomes a small theatre, in which the set and the actions change as the pages are turned. Also, they try to actively involve the viewers in their visual interpretation, so that they become, as it were, their playfellows, as in a board game, setting the scenery, relocating the characters. In combination with the playscript they “act out” the performance as director and actor.
The students have recognised the role of women in the play, so they make them visible and even place them at the central point in the composition of the illustrations. They also rightly detect the conservationist message as a far-reaching message that transcends the framework of the theatre production and brings it back cyclically.
In most of the illustrations, the role of light is key. The students use it to construct and make sense of the illustration as such, and regard it as an external source of lighting. This enhances the dramatic features and can also transfer the image to a new medium by way of projection.
In doing so, they illuminate the play through their own vision.
doc. Suzi Bricelj

We will open the exhibition on the day of the premiere of the performance Uncle Vanya directed by Janusz Kica, on Friday, June 9, at 18.00 in the foyer of the Main Stage.


On schedule