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The Cherry Orchard

Comedy by Anton Chekov

Comedy in Four Acts by Anton Chekhov. Reccomended age: 12 years and older.

It is early summer and the cherry orchard is in full bloom. We are on a feudal estate in Russia, where time appears to stand still. This enigmatic place keeps alive the old values and the lives of earlier generations. It is an oasis of calm and constancy in the midst of a country where revolutionary forces are starting to simmer. Soon, however, the cracks within the façade of the estate with its unrivalled cherry orchard can no longer be hidden. Chekhov wrote his last play «The Cherry Orchard» at a time when a new social and political order was taking shape: it was premiered by the Moscow Arts Theatre in 1903.

A personal setback made the estate’s owner Ljubov Andreevna leave in search of a new life and move to Paris in order to forget and make a fresh start. But she was unable to escape her past. So she returns to the estate with the cherry orchard, the place of her childhood and of unfulfilled desires. Times have changed, however. She is now deeply in debt and the cherry orchard, on which she was relying, is no longer the source of revenue it once was. According to Lopachin, a peasant’s son who has now risen to become a businessman, the only solution that will prevent the estate being auctioned off is to lease out the property to build summer houses. And that means cutting down the orchard.

While some hold on tight to the old values, others rush headlong into the promising new world: some people have to lose out for others to be able to gain. This makes Chekhov’s play much more than a reflection of the Russia of its time: it asks the essential question o what happens when firm beliefs collapse and economic interests prevail above all else. Resident director Julia Hölscher, well known to Basel audiences from her productions of «Sleepwalkers» after the novel by Dorothee Elmiger, Mozart’s «The Magic Flute», Shakespeare’s «Twelfth Night», «The Break of Noon» by Anja Hilling after Paul Claudel, Kleist’s «Amphitryon» and the opera «The Golden Cage», directs Chekhov’s play about leaving home and new beginnings as the final theatre production in Andreas Beck’s term as Artistic Director.

Preisstufe 4 (von 30.– bis 60.–)

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