The Cherry Orchard
by Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov - The Cherry Orchard

BBC Radio 3: Drama on 3

Broadcast: Sunday 21st December 2008 @ 8:00 p.m.

Sarah Miles, Nicholas Le Prevost and Anne-Marie Duff are among the stars in this new production of Chekhov's last play, "The Cherry Orchard".

Considered by many to be Chekhov's finest work, "The Cherry Orchard" is a timeless tragi-comedy. It deals with the decline of the Russian aristocracy after the emancipation of the serfs and delivers truths about all societies in times of transition.

Using a new translation by Sasha Dugdale from the original Russian text, the production attempts to provide a fresh reconnection to Chekhov's original and remain true to the author's conviction that, as well as heart-breaking drama, this is a delightful comedy. In fact, Chekhov's much-debated demands for a mingling of comedy in the high-tragedy of the play were what Constantin Stanislavski the play's first director stamped his production with, and what led to the play's reputation and popular success.

The play is set at the end of the 19th century, in rural Russia, where an impoverished aristocratic family refuse to take the necessary steps to prevent their estate and beloved cherry orchard from going under the hammer. It is bought by a local self-made businessman, the son of a serf made good, who plans to demolish the house and turn the cherry orchard into tiny allotments which will be let as dachas (summer cottages).

Translated by Sasha Dugdale, a poet and translator of 30 contemporary Russian plays, from Anton Chekhov's final play, "The Cherry Orchard", first performed in 1903.

With Sarah Miles [Madame Ranevskaia], Nicholas le Prevost [Gaev], Susannah Fielding [Ania], Anne-Marie Duff [Varia], Gunnar Cauthery [Trofimov], Roger Hammond [Simeonov-Pishchik], Matthew Marsh [Lopakhin], Malcolm Tierney [Firs], Jill Cardo [Duniasha], Stephen Critchlow [Epikhodov], Inam Mirza [Yasha], and Hannah Nicholson [Sharlotta].

Original music composed and performed by Olga Thomas-Bosovskaya.

Directed by Peter Kavanagh

120 min.


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