A moribund society makes a stately exodus in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Deep Dish Theater | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

A moribund society makes a stately exodus in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Deep Dish Theater 

click to enlarge Dorothy Recasner Brown and John Rogers Harris in the Deep Dish Theater production of The Cherry Orchard.

Photo by Jonathan Young

Dorothy Recasner Brown and John Rogers Harris in the Deep Dish Theater production of The Cherry Orchard.

There's nothing like an idea whose time has come—and gone. By the start of Chekhov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD, the divisions are crumbling between the pomeshchiki, the landed Russian gentry of the 1800s, and the not-so-permanent peasant underclass it engendered.

In director Paul Frellick's take on Paul Schmidt's 1988 translation, actor John Rogers Harris' merchant, Lopákhin, looks on with increasing bemusement at the nostalgia, denial and learned helplessness of Liubóv (demure Dorothy Recasner Brown) and Gáyev (David Hudson) as their ancestral estate heads inexorably to the auction block.

But that will not prevent Lopákhin from buying it and then evicting the family his father and grandfather once served as slaves. Though he's courteous and even conciliatory, by the end it's abundantly clear: After five centuries of serfdom, enough's enough.

We know that further drastic changes await Russian culture in the 20th century. More than a hint of them lies in Kevin Poole's idealistic grad student, Pétya, as he woos Maryanne Henderson's fetching Ánya. And comic relief on this canvas of change comes from Fred Corlett's mooching neighbor, Borís, and Matthew Hager's fumbling suitor, Semyón.

This story of an absurdly moribund society's stately exodus recalls, of all things, a classic cartoon gag: Wile E. Coyote running off of the mountainside, captured in super-slow motion. At the end, Liubóv, Gáyev and their retinue are still moving forward, off the estate they've lost, seemingly unaware that the land that has grounded them for centuries has fallen away.

But someone's about to look down. Then comes the fall.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Teacher's threat"

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Comments

The photo credit is incorrect. The photo was taken and edited by Areon Mobasher for Burning Coal Theatre Company. Please …

by Areon Mobasher on The Greeks Streamlines Sophocles’s Theban Trilogy Into Three Nimble, Strikingly Modern One-Acts (Theater)

I'm wondering why Dorfman specifically chose the Death and the Maiden quartet - deriving from the song Der Tod und …

by trishmapow on Forgiving is not forgetting in Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden (Theater)

Most Recent Comments

The photo credit is incorrect. The photo was taken and edited by Areon Mobasher for Burning Coal Theatre Company. Please …

by Areon Mobasher on The Greeks Streamlines Sophocles’s Theban Trilogy Into Three Nimble, Strikingly Modern One-Acts (Theater)

I'm wondering why Dorfman specifically chose the Death and the Maiden quartet - deriving from the song Der Tod und …

by trishmapow on Forgiving is not forgetting in Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden (Theater)

I'm not a theatergoer, so it was off my usual path to see this production. The small/ mighty cast approached …

by Aims Arches on A Superlative Adaptation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando Packs Centuries of Insight into a Fleet Eighty Minutes (Theater)

I personally am remarkably intrigued to see this production but since I can't drive myself to it I will sadly …

by Ryan Oliveira on David Harrower Lives Up to His Name in Blackbird, a Challenging Portrait of Abuse (Theater)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation