In my research, I found an amazing American Theater piece from March of 2005 curated by Todd London (Artistic Director of New Dramatists) who has interviewed Andre Gregory over the course of some years. The piece is titled “Gregory on the Non-Making of Uncle Vanya.” I’ve referenced another portion of Gregory’s “non-making” in another post and I’ll post the full text of London’s article on our Course Materials page, but I wanted to quote just a smidge here on the open blog. It’s part of a conversation Gregory had with Ruth Nelson the original actress to play Marina in the rehearsal/staged version of their Vanya (Phoebe Snow plays Marina in the film) before she died in 1992 (a death that came on the heels of a stroke she suffered the night before the Vanya stage performance’s last run-through). As you will read in the full article, much of the process of gathering the group of actors for the Vanya that we see in the movie was tinged with loss and many examples of the fragility and fleeting nature of existence but the insistence to create even (especially?) in the face of mortality.
Ruth Nelson said something amazing when I went to visit her a few days before she died. I said to her ‘Are you afraid, Ruth?’ And she said, ‘No. Dying is like our work. You just go moment to moment, and you don’t think of the end.’ “
Not only did it just choke me up immediately upon reading it, I found it an interesting contrast/compliement to Sonya’s final words about the rest and peace from toil that comes with death.