COMEDY. Uncle Victor is a historical comedy inspired by
the classic Russian play, Uncle Vanya, by Anton Chekhov. In
this version O'Neill takes the structure of Uncle Vanya and some
characters and places them on Waverly Plantation in 1899
Louisiana. The dialogue and characters are typically Southern and the
play resounds with this new dimension. The Louisiana story perfectly
parallels the situation in turn-of-the century Russia, where a new
urban economy was destroying the country's agrarian base. While
Russians were suffering from typhoid and peasants were going hungry,
Southerners were dying from yellow fever and displaced farmers were
starving. In Uncle Victor, the Mallory family, running Waverly Sugar
Plantation, confronts a totally changed Louisiana.
Several characters typify turn of the century Louisiana: Uncle Victor,
a spoiled manager, who has given his life to salvage his family's
plantation; Randolph Trowell, brother-in-law, a retired Tulane
professor who returns to reclaim the plantation for his new young
wife; Randolph's daugher, Sophie Trowell (and Uncle Victor's niece), a
fading spinster-heir to the plantation; Mamere, the grandmother who
yearns for the past; and Marie Gaudet, her nurse, who longs for a
future for Sophie.
When the gorgeous young wife of the professor comes in with an
opportunistic, epicurean attitude, the characters must come to terms
with their failed expectations, the new egalitarian society. The men
have tried to salvage the best for Louisiana: the doctor, to save
patients from yellow fever; the plantation manager, to keep the
plantation going with stringent economy; the professor, to enlighten
students in Louisiana's cultural future. But the men fall in love with
the new wife, a glamourous woman who has none of their interests.
Uncle Victor makes a beautiful woman central to choices
that affect a town, a state, and a world. It asks the question: What
are the new paths to leave a legacy in Louisiana? Love inspires the
choice, love for the land and for this woman, but irony reigns in
this new Louisiana. Unit Set.
CAST OF CHARACTERS: (3M,
Randolph Trowell (Dolph), a retired professor
Ellen Barnes Trowell, his wife, age twenty-seven
Sophie Mallory Trowell, his daugher by his first wife
Louise Mallory (Mamere), mother of the professor's first wife
Victor, her son
David August Greenan, A doctor
Marie Gaudet, an old nurse.