Saturday, March 17, 2007

the cherry orchard

Went to the crucible last night to watch the cherry orchard. It's first time i've been to the crucible in ages, i'd forgotten what an excelent intimate venue it is. The stage is encircled by the audience, with the performance taking place within the centre. Interesting to see the types of ppl who go to the theatre, there were many from the older generations and i thought this is just like going to church. There were a couple of students in the mix, plus a few, that i can only describe as guardian readers who eat only organic food. Those people hovering on the border of eccentricity. and me. I was really impressed with the stage, and the lighting was also superb, they had employed a 'hazy fog' effect through which the lighting diffused. A couple of women in the row in front of me wre quite amusing as they were busy cleaning their glasses 'ooh, it's all hazy, I think i've got something on my glasses'.

I'm no theatre critic, but i thought the performance were very good, and there was an almost audible gasp of excitement in the room as joanna lumley appeared. However it was the story line of the cherry orchard that i found most fascinating. Set against the backdrop of social reform in russia at the turn of the 20th centuary. After the emancipation of the serfs, the lowest social class were able to amass their own fortunes, if lucky and astute business characters. Whilst the aristocrats frivoled their wealth away. In this play a rich landowner has amounted huge debts and her estate and cherry orchard need to be auctioned off. The newly rich 'serf' of the play tries to advise new ways to use the land of the cherry orchard for profit, the building of holiday homes. But the aristocrat will have none of it, the cherry orchard symbolises her youth and status and it will not change. Inevitably the orchard is sold and she loses everything. Reminded me a bit of the way church buildings are often revered to the detrament of doing the work of the gospel. All effort and money ploughed into maintaining a crumbling relic. The play is full of other interesting and amusing characters, including the left wing 'perpetual student' who offers great idealistic advice to one and all on the purposes and goals of life. This student reminded me a lot of Raskolnikov in crime and punishment. Probably reflective of the growing bolshevik movement of the day. I think I may have to read some more of anton chekov's work, as this was very enjoyable.

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