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The Cherry Orchard

by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Trans. By Julius West

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From AudioFile
Only the Russians could have called Chekhov's last play a comedy. This L.A. Theatre Works production leans more heavily on the dramatic, even tragic, elements of the play. Marsh Mason is particularly strong as Ranevskaya, who has returned to her beloved estate several years after her young son drowned there, only to watch it slip from the family's hands. Hector Elizondo, as Ranevskaya's brother, is an excellent supporting character, as is Michael Cristofer as the wealthy neighbor who ultimately buys the property. The lone clunker in the cast is Jennifer Tilley, who is entirely inappropriate for her small role. D.B. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

An outstanding literary work. Well adapted for modern audiences.

Book Description

Tom Murphy's Irish vernacular adaptation of Chekhov's most popular play allows us to re-imagine the events in the last days of Anglo-Irish colonialism, giving The Cherry Orchard a vivid new life within our own history and social consciousness.

Tom Murphy is an award-winning Irish playwright whose work includes The Sanctuary, Bailegangaire, and The Wake.

Language Notes
Text: English, Russian (translation)

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PISCHIN. Well . . Dashenka told me. Now I'm in such a position, I wouldn't mind forging them . . . I've got to pay 310 roubles the day after to-morrow . . . I've got 130 already. . . . [Feels his pockets, nervously] I've lost the money! The money's gone! [Crying] Where's the money? [Joyfully] Here it is behind the lining . . . I even began to perspire.

The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Drama in four acts written by Anton Chekhov as Vishnyovy sad. Chekhov's final play, it was first performed and published in 1904. Though Chekhov insisted that the play was "a comedy, in places even a farce," playgoers and readers often find a touch of tragedy in the decline of the charming Ranevskaya family. Madame Ranevskaya, who has spent five years in Paris to escape grief over her young son's death, returns to her home in Russia ridden with debt. She is obliged to decide how to dispose of her family's estate, with its beautiful and famous cherry orchard. The coarse but wealthy merchant Ermolai Lopakhin suggests that Mme Ranevskaya develop the land on which the orchard sits. Eventually Lopakhin purchases the estate and proceeds with his plans for a housing development. As the unhappy Ranevskayas leave the estate, the sound of saws can be heard in the orchard.

About the Author
Tom Murphy's plays include On The Outside, A Whistle in the Dark, Famine, The Morning After Optimism, The Sanctuary Lamp The Blue Macushla, Conversations on a Homecoming, Bailegangaire, Too Late for Logic, The Wake. His Awards include The Irish Academy of Letters Award, the Irish Times/ESB Lifetime Award, the Irish Times/ESB Theatre Award. He was born in Tuam Co. Galway. He lives in Dublin. 'The most distinctive, the most restless, the most obsessive imagination at work in the Irish theatre today.'--Brian Friel



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