Cherry Orchard Review
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On the evening of November 5th I saw The Cherry Orchard, presented by the Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theater in New York City. On any other occasion I would have preferred to watch a musical on Broadway instead of a play but the all-star cast (Diane Lane and Tavi Gevinson) and the modern rendering on a classic Chekov play really appealed to me.
The overall atmosphere of the theater itself and the crowd was very much what you would expect from a classic play on Broadway. The audience, constituting almost entirely of elderly people, was dressed in formal casual attire and the etiquette of the audience was pretty impeccable (despite one or two phones going off during the show).
The Cherry Orchard is a play by Anton Chekov, it follows the life of a Russian noblewoman, L who returns to her family’s estate after being abroad for 5 years following the tragic death of her young son. She arrives home wot find the cherry orchard in full bloom, and her financed facing economic ruin. She is faced with the decision to sell her beloved orchard or lose everything she has. Set in turn-of-the-century Russia, the characters must also deal with tremendous social and economic change, whilst trying to retain their idealistic points of view.
As one walks in, the stage is open, showing what is made to look like a child’s nursery including; a baby bed, a small table with small chairs, a book shelf, a set of toy blocks made to look like buildings, and a large windowpane with large metal tree-like structures hanging on the outside, to create an allusion on a window overlooking the cherry orchard. All of the furniture is covered with blankets, implying that they have not been used for a while. And the entire set is behind a sheer, see-through curtain that falls straight down from the ceiling.
The set was quite minimal, depending only on a few pieces of furniture, some hanging structures, and a color changing backdrop to convey the idea of space to the audience. I have noticed that a lot of shows are choosing to go the simple route when it comes to their sets. Nonetheless, this was still very effective, the audience always knew where it was and when it was. This also did not did not distract the viewer whatsoever. In fact, one could focus better on the acting this way.
The show was very entertaining from start to finish. The characters themselves are written to be very quirky and charismatic. I noticed this especially in the character of The Uncle (Played by John Glover) whos talkative manners and care-free attitude provide much of the humor of the show. The daughter Anya (Played by Tavi Gevinson), is wise beyond her years and tries to find a silver lining among all the misfortunes her family is suddenly facing. Her actions always seem genuine. For example, in the scene where Lyubov is devastated to find out that the cherry orchard has been sold