Uncle Victor is a historical comedy inspired by the classic Russian play, Uncle Vanya, by Anton Chekhov.
Uncle Victor opens on the gallery of Professor Trowell’s failing sugar plantation estate. An old nurse, sorcerer sits by a coffee pot as the young country doctor, complains about the devastating yellow fever. He has come to treat the professor's case of gout but is falling in love with his beautiful bride, Ellen. Uncle Victor, the professor's brother-in-law by his first marriage, walks about enraged. The extravagant professor and his child bride have thrown the already failing estate out of kilter and Victor, caretaker of the estate, has become obsessed with her. The old professor attempts unsuccessfully to seduce his child wife. Victor arrives to relieve Ellen. Tipsy, the young doctor also approaches her. Spinster Sophie tries to seduce him but he moans that he cannot love but is "fascinated" by beauty (namely Ellen's). Alone, Sophie confesses her love for the young doctor to Ellen and encourages her to intercede. After Sophie runs to fetch the doctor, Ellen, now alone, confesses her own fascination for the young doctor. The young doctor explains the progressive degeneration of the region to an uninterested Ellen who cross-examines him about Sophie. The doctor, convinced of Ellen's own desire, embraces her and insists upon arranging a rendezvous, but Victor enters disturbed and accuses the doctor of betrayal. The professor announces that he plans to sell the estate. Victor protests that he has spent his best years working the land to all’s benefit. Crazed, Victor goes for his gun and shoots the professor twice but misses. Ellen and the professor are departing. The doctor demands Victor return his stolen bottle of morphine. Dreading the empty years to come, Victor pleads with the doctor to kill him. Sophie retrieves the bottle of poison and convinces her uncle and her father to reconcile. Ellen and the young doctor say their subdued goodbyes. The doctor makes one more erotic attempt to convince her to stay. The old professor and Victor reconcile. Ellen and an apologetic Victor share a brief farewell, Sophie pines for the doctor, but he leaves on a horse to make his rounds in the country as a “for sale sign” goes up on the plantation.
"O'Neill followed the original closely but not slavishly, and the resulting hybrid was a graceful and poignant evening of theater. " - Dalt Wonk, Proscenium