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The Cherry Orchard (van Itallie Adaptation)

The Cherry Orchard (van Itallie Adaptation)
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Anton Chekhov
Adapted by: Jean-Claude van Itallie
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 61
Pub. Date: 1995
Edition: Revised
ISBN-10: 0822214504
ISBN-13: 9780822214502
Cast Size: 5 women, 9 men, extras

About the Play:

The Cherry Orchard is a full-length drama by Anton Chekhov, in a revised English version by Jean-Claude van Itallie. A Russian aristocrat returns from Paris to her childhood estate, which is due to be sold. Anton Chekhov's 1903 play highlights the growing irrelevancy of the Russian upper classes as the former peasant class begins to gain power.

The Cherry Orchard is takes place at the country estate of Madame Ranevskaya, an estate famed for its beautiful cherry orchard – and soon to be sold at auction unless the delinquent taxes are paid. As the play begins Madame Ranevskaya has returned from Paris, where she has frittered away the last of her fortune on a cynical young lover, and it is soon apparent that neither she, nor her family and friends, can come to grips with the crushing reality which they must face, or truly fathom the loss which threatens them. Instead they continue to go on as if nothing had changed, and only the rich merchant Lopakhin, the nouveau riche son of a peasant, seems to realize the gravity of the situation. Ironically it is he who bids successfully for the estate and who sets his men to felling the trees as, in the bittersweet finale, Madame Ranevskaya departs again for Paris and the fragile promise of a new and perhaps better life.

The Cherry Orchard premiered in 1904 at the Moscow Art Theatre on Chekhov's 44th birthday and only six months before his death. Despite his modern reputation for melodrama, Chekhov insisted at the time that the play should be treated as 'a light comedy'.Jean-Claude van Itallie's version of The Cherry Orchard was first produced in 1977 on Broadway at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre and earned tremendous critical and popular acclaim.

Cast: 5 women, 9 men, extras

What people say:

"To stage a classic is an easy thing but to restore that classic to the hands, mind and blood of its creator is in itself an act of creativity... I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like this production on a stage before—I left the Beaumont exhilarated." — New York Times

"…a new, faithful, very playable and gorgeous translation by Jean-Claude van Itallie." — New York Post

"Jean-Claude van Itallie's adaptation is splendid, colloquial without being cute, simple, moving, funny." — Village Voice

About the Playwright:

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) was a Russian physician, dramaturge and author of hundreds of short stories and several plays. He is regarded by many as both the greatest Russian storyteller and the father of modern drama. His plays, including The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard, are performed in theatres throughout the world and he is second only to Shakespeare in the number of productions his plays receive.

Jean-Claude van Itallie is one of the most distinguished playwrights of the American avant-garde. Born in Brussels, Belgium, he was three when his family fled the Holocaust to America as refugees in 1940. He grew up on suburban Long Island, graduated Harvard in 1958, and in the 1960s was a seminal force in the explosive New York Off-Broadway theatre. He may be best-known for America Hurrah (his acclaimed anti-Viet Nam war trilogy comprised of Interview, TV and Motel), The Serpent, Tibetan Book of the Dead, and his translations of Chekhov's major plays, which are prized by directors and actors for their clarity and subtle rhythms, are possibly the most performed Chekhov versions on the American stage.