Into The Cherry Orchard
Student actors step up to BU’s Huntington stage
Jessica Rothenberg (CFA’09) has played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Belle in Beauty and the Beast, but until she took on the role of Anya in Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, she had never entered a world of such complex drama. First staged in 1904, The Cherry Orchard is alternately farcical and depressing, sweeping and claustrophobic, and the current Huntington Theatre Company production leaves audience members teasingly uncertain about whether they have watched a comedy or a tragedy.
The play brings to life the final, failed efforts of a once-wealthy family to cling to its past, in the form of a cherry orchard of legendary beauty. Lyuba Ranevsky, played by Kate Burton — known to television viewers for her role in Grey’s Anatomy — returns to the family home just before it is being auctioned to pay the mortgage, having frittered away her fortune and her love. Remarkably, Ranevsky, who has lost a young son in a drowning accident, refuses to let the sale of her beloved home ruffle a chilling mantle of superficial gaiety. What’s left when the lights go down is the sound of axes chopping wood.
Rothenberg and Patrick Lynch (CFA’07), who plays the stationmaster, are two of several BU students who appear in the production, which is based on a new translation by Richard Nelson and is directed by Nicholas Martin.
The Cherry Orchard plays at the BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., through February 4; performances are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2 p.m.
For tickets and for more information, visit the Huntington Theatre Company online at www.huntingtontheatre.org.