For the past two months, Russia has held the attention of the entire world. With the success of the Winter Olympics in Sochi quickly followed by the debacle in Crimea, rarely has a day gone by without the world’s largest country in the news.
Russia’s history is rich, long and complex with an identity that has been shaped by literature, music, revolution, poverty and more. One of the key voices of Russian identity has been the famous playwright Anton Chekhov, who wrote about the grandeur and emptiness of Russian aristocracy at the turn of the 20th century.
Starting April 4th and running weekends through April 13th, the Northfield Arts Guild Theater tackles Chekhov’s lauded tragedy “The Cherry Orchard.”
“This play is really accessible,” said Felicia Crosby, who plays Russian aristocrat Lyubov on the verge of losing her estate. “There’s this notion that a classic like this is stiff or preachy. But it’s actually very sad at times and very funny. And actually very related to Russia today and how they viewed their identity 100 years ago.”
“The Cherry Orchard” gets its name from the acres of cherry trees alongside Lyubov’s manor house. Five years after Lyubov lost both her husband and son, the aging aristocrat is on the verge of losing the beloved estate to foreclosure. But when those around her give their advice, no one ever steps up to save the estate.
“The tragedy occurs because everyone is afraid to do something or won’t do something,” said production’s director Jon Terrill. “There are all these plans, but no one implements them. One character even tells Lyubov directly what the solution is, but still no one does it.”
While the play has sad overtones, Crosby and Terrill said “The Cherry Orchard” has it’s lighter moments as well.
“It’s got some very humorous scenes. There are several dramatic moments, but all the characters have their own quirks,” Terrill said.
Made up of local community theater veterans, the cast has come together as an ensemble, Terrill said, noting that the “chemistry is really good.”
“Jon is a really collaborative director. And everyone in the cast has theater experience. It’s nice to work with people who really know what they’re doing,” Crosby said.
“The Cherry Orchard” opens in the Northfield Arts Guild Theater on Friday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.
Reach reporter Cristeta Boarini at 333-3135. Follow her on Twitter.com @CristetaBoarini