Written when Russia was on the verge of an earth-shattering revolution and Chekhov himself was in the grips of tuberculosis, The Cherry Orchard is an unflinching laugh in the face of mortality. The action of the play takes place on a country estate outside of Moscow where Madame Ranevskaya, her family, her friends, and her servants all are standing on the brink of social, political and economic changes that will alter their lives forever.
As the older generation of family members and servants struggle to hold onto a deteriorating way of life, the younger generation pushes onward toward an uncertain future. By turns poignant and funny, serious and irreverent, Chekhov’s play deftly illustrates that the only constant we face as human beings is change. How we embrace that change is ultimately all we have to hold onto.
Since its inception, The Seagull Project has developed its own unique process for bringing Chekhov’s work to the stage, taking a full 18 months to create an ensemble of actors who are steeped in a common approach to movement, voice, and text.
Seagull Project Artistic Director Gavin Reub had this to say about the play and the Seagull Project process, “Chekhov’s final play was written on the edge. Edge of his health, edge of Modernism, edge of decade long revolution. We find ourselves on the edge as well. In our workshops, we decide how brave we can be. We can play to the 19th century mentality, or we can follow Chekhov’s mind through the generations and discover what it means to be push ourselves to the edge of our own potential.”
The Cherry Orchard is directed by John Langs, who serves as both The Seagull Project’s resident director and the artistic director for ACT Theatre. This is the third production Langs has directed for The Seagull Project, having also directed The Seagull and The Three Sisters.