The Cherry Orchard
The Cherry Orchard
The Cherry Orchard is the last play by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. It opened at the Moscow Art Theatre on 17 January 1904 in a production directed by the acting master, Konstantin Stanislavski, and charts the precipitous fall of a once-wealthy family, (and in the process creating an unflinching view of social change and bourgeois materialism.)
In Chekhov's tragi-comedy, an aristocratic Russian woman and her impoverished landowning family return to their family estate (which includes a large and well-known cherry orchard) before it is auctioned off to pay the mortgage.
Lopakhin, a local merchant, presents numerous options to save it, including cutting down their prized cherry orchard and selling the land for holiday cottages. But the family is paralyzed into inaction and essentially does nothing.
The play ends with the sale of the estate to the son of a former serf, while the family leaves to the sound of the cherry orchard being cut down.
ANTON CHEKHOV (1860–1904) was a Russian author and physician, considered to be among the greatest writers in history. His career produced numerous classics including The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, and Three Sisters. Along with Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg, Chekhov is often referred to as one of the three seminal figures in the birth of early modernism in the theater. Always modest, Chekhov could hardly have imagined the extent of his posthumous reputation. Ovations for The Cherry Orchard in the year of his death showed him how high he had risen in the affection of the Russian public—by then he was second in literary celebrity only to Tolstoy. After his death, Chekhov's fame spread further. Constance Garnett's translations won him an international readership and the admiration of writers such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Katherine Mansfield.