Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” with its complexity and opportunities for creative staging, has presented a meaningful challenge to both the cast and crew of this year’s fall play.
“The Cherry Orchard” centers around the fate of the estate of the Gayevs, landed gentry whose beloved cherry orchard and family home are at risk of being sold at auction to pay off back taxes. The play, which first premiered in January 1904, is considered one of the greatest in Western dramatic literature, while also capturing a time of societal and political change in Russia, before the Czar was overthrown and the Russian Revolution had begun.
The play is often classified and presented as a tragedy. The St. Andrew’s Players, however, will try to strike a balance between the serious and the humorous, in honor of Chekhov’s original intentions; he describes “The Cherry Orchard” as a comedy.
“The Cherry Orchard has really challenged me as an actor with the length of the play,” said Amalie Pandit ’23, who plays the eccentric governess Charlotta. “A lot of memorization needs to be done, especially for those with multiple monologues.”
“People should see ‘The Cherry Orchard’ as it is really unique in [our] approach,” Pandit added. “We have really talented actors that are a must see.”
When audiences arrive to the show, they may be surprised by the staging; the play will be performed on the floor in MacDonald Hall – rather than the stage – with audiences immersed in the action as they sit around the performers.
Rebecca Piercey ’24, the Master Electrician and Assistant Stage Manager, said managing lights for this staging has taught her technical skills she can apply for future school productions, as well as perseverance and collaboration.
“Before, I didn’t know nearly as much as I do now about lighting technology and how to put it together,” Piercey said. “When you have people who want to be here and help with it, it makes it a lot easier.”
Melissa Nugent ’25, the Stage Manager for “The Cherry Orchard,” said the show isn’t action-packed, like “Les Misérables,” the last show the St. Andrew’s Players put on, but it will be a different experience for audiences to enjoy.
“It’s an interesting play to be doing as high schoolers, and we’re doing it in a way we haven’t done before with the stage set up. It’s a whole new thing,” she said.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29, with a matinee on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at the door. They are free for all students (from any school), $5 for seniors and $10 for adults. Faculty and staff of St. Andrew’s may attend for free.