By Suzy Williams
I’m going to give you a reason or two, dear Beachhead readers, why you should take advantage of the fact that The Cherry Orchard is now playing at our great and very local Pacific Resident Theatre. First, it is a great full look into the socio-economic upheavals that were the Russian mirror of what happened here with the Emancipation Proclamation, that the abolition of slavery here and serfdom there happened in the same decade. We had Lincoln, they had Tsar Alexander II. Later, we had Gone with The Wind; they had The Cherry Orchard. (Perhaps other peoples were gaining their freedom at that same time. I must research!)
This play explores one of the most universal human emotions: that of a sense of home and the loss thereof. The central character, Ranevskaya, (played vulnerably and passionately by PRT’s artistic director, Marilyn Fox) is part of an oppressive regime, and we witness her ditzily cutting her whole family out of their birthplace and also committing a most selfish act of omission. But Chekov has created a deeply layered character who is also capable of spontaneous generosity, and always has the grace of a great lady. We empathize with her, because maybe we lost our home, too.
The Cherry Orchard has been directed by Charles Laughton, Peter Brook and Jean-Louis Barrault, and I double-dare any of these greats to top the Pacific Resident Theatre casting (most noted: Marilyn Fox and longtime Beachhead collectivist Mary Jane) the costumes (Audrey Eisner, designer) the airy and elegant scene design (Staci Walters and Jeffrey Eisenmann), the staging, sound and overall direction, (Dana Jackson, director) of this production. I cried at the surprise ending and you might, too!
The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov
Thurs thru Sunday at 8:00
Sunday matinee at 3:00
Until September 28
The Pacific Resident Theatre
703 Venice Blvd
Venice CA 90291
310 822 8392
Right, top: Marilyn Fox as Ranevskaya and Bruce French as Gaev
Right, bottom: Kelsey Ritter as Anya and Marilyn Fox as Ranevskaya
Photos: Vitor Martins
By Suzy Williams