A bittersweet comedy about love and loss in pre-revolutionary Russia, New Theatre continues its 2016 season with simply one of the greatest plays of the modern era, The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov.
An aristocratic family, on the brink of financial ruin, must come to terms with the sale of their land to an upstart developer and the loss of their beloved cherry orchard, the finest in the district. For Lyubov Ranevskaya, her brother, her daughters and their servants, losing the property will mean the end of a way of life which no longer holds any joy but to which they still desperately cling.
Chekhov’s masterful tragicomedy, rich in observation of human nature, is a powerful study of our relationship to time and place. In David Mamet’s bold adaptation, characterised by his distinctive sardonic tone, edgy rapid-fire dialogue and manipulative characters, we come to see the play in new and surprising ways: as an audacious exposition of frustrated sexuality. In this world, no one is happy in love or life, and in the end, reality bites hard.
A 2015 graduate from the Master of Fine Arts (Directing) course at NIDA, director Clemence Williams will be making her New Theatre and Sydney mainstage debut with this production. “It’s quite an unusual classic in that there’s a plethora of fabulous roles for women,” says Williams. “And I’m totally in love with Mamet’s translation as it brings a sharpness and musicality to a text that can sometimes be swallowed up by extraneous language.”
“My aim is to create onstage relationships that demonstrate the transient nature of the class divide. I want the ideas of disconnection, detachment and misplaced nostalgia to be accessible. Our audiences can expect a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour, unrequited love, sexual tension and a decimated Orchard.”
The cast includes NIDA graduate Sarah Chadwick as Lyubov, whose extensive television and film credits include GP, Flying Doctors, Packed to the Rafters, Janet King and Priscilla – Queen of the Desert. “I’ve always wanted to do a Chekhov play as the writing is so dense and rich and complex,” says Chadwick. “Lyubov is such a wonderful character – and it’s so hard to find great female characters to play once you’ve over fifty. This opportunity was too good to pass up.”
Director: Clemence Williams Featuring: Alex Bryant-Smith, Sarah Chadwick, Finn Davis, Miranda Daughtry, Bella Debbage, Jasper Garner Gore, Brett Heath, Cecilia Morrow, Nicholas Papademetriou, Eliza Scott, Josephine Starte, Sam Trotman, Benjamin Vickers Set and Costume Designer: Jonathan Hindmarsh Lighting Designer: Benjamin Brockman Sound Designer: Eliza Scott Assistant Director: Claudia Osborne Dramaturg: Thomas De Angelis Production Manager: Mark Nagle
The Cherry Orchard
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season: 28 April – 28 May 2016 (previews: 26 & 27 April)
For more information, visit: www.newtheatre.org.au for details.
Image: The Cherry Orchard – photo by Bob Seary