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The Cherry Orchard

Written by Anton Chekov

The Cherry Orchard, Chekov’s last play, takes place on a Russian estate at the turn of the twentieth century. Serfs have been liberated and revolution is knocking at the door.

The nonsensical, self- interested lives of the characters preoccupied by love, money and coffee seem farcical in the face of vast, indifferent social forces pressing down on them. Their rich psychological complexity, which defies simplistic analysis, is a wonderful challenge for an ensemble.

This deeply human play evokes an experience of trying to get hold of life and make sense of it, whilst being aware of transience, the implacability of time. The Cherry Orchard is perhaps an invitation to be mindful of how we use it. Richard Gilman in his book ‘Chekov’s Plays’ describes it as ‘an opening to eternity’. Chekov described it as ‘a comedy.’ So how will we serve a play and its relevance to now, when greed and foolishness still combine to tear down the natural wealth Chekov loved and cultivated?

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