This semester’s theater season begins on Thursday, February 17 with the opening night of The Cherry Orchard. The performance will be in Geneva College’s Studio Theatre and continue through Saturday and the next weekend, February 24 – 26. Shows begin at 8 p.m. in the evening, but both Saturdays have matinee showings as well at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $3 for students and seniors and $5 for general admission. The Cherry Orchard is directed by Dr. David Kuhns.
The play is about an aristocratic Russian woman and her family returning to the family home. Unfortunately, they are unable to pay the mortgage on the house and cherry orchard and are faced with the possibility of having to sell their home. The story presents themes of cultural futility — both the futility of the aristocracy to maintain its status and the futility of the bourgeoisie to find meaning in its newfound materialism. In reflecting the socio-economic forces at work in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, including the rise of the middle class after the abolition of serfdom in the mid-19th century and the sinking of the aristocracy, the play reflects forces at work around the globe in that period.
The play is by Anton Chekhov, a physician turned writer, who was to become one of the most influential playwrights of the early modern European avant-garde theatre in Russia. Chekhov was one of the major pioneers of psychological realism in playwriting and, as such, holds a major place in the development of modern drama.
The Cherry Orchard was Chekhov’s last play; he died in 1904. “The Cherry Orchard is a comedy with a tragic ending,” says Sarah Henderson, a student in the show. “It’s about the bitter-sweet feelings that come with moving on from your past and on to the future.”
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