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New version of The Cherry Orchard begins previews at the Shaw Festival

Calamities are happening and I do not even know what I should be thinking. 

Media Release #10

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, April 22, 2010….A new version of The Cherry Orchard by Tom Murphy, one of Ireland’s leading contemporary playwrights, begins previews tonight at the Court House Theatre. Directed by Dublin director Jason Byrne, this adaptation of the Chekhovian tragicomedy retains all the power of the Russian classic, but adds an Irish flavour. This Shaw Festival production is the Canadian premiere of the Tom Murphy version.

Against the backdrop of impending revolution and social change, an aristocratic family’s way of life is slowly disappearing, and with it, their beloved cherry orchard. On the verge of financial collapse, a decision must be made whether to sell their land to make way for holiday cottages or remain in blissful denial of the unstoppable march of progress.

The cast of The Cherry Orchard includes Laurie Paton as Lyubov Andreyevna Ranyevskaya, Jim Mezon as Leonid Gayev and Benedict Campbell as Yermolay Lopakhin with Neil Barclay, Al Kozlik, Julie Martell, Gord Rand, Severn Thompson, Mark Uhre and Robin Evan Willis.

The Cherry Orchard is designed by Peter Hartwell, with lighting design by Lighting Design Director Kevin Lamotte. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Beatrice Campbell and Assistant Stage Manager Annie McWhinnie.

Anton Chekhov’s final and most famous work premiered at the Moscow Art Theatre on January 17, 1904, the year of his death, and was directed by Konstantin Stanislavski and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. Though the play was intended by Chekhov to be a comedy with elements of farce, Stanislavski directed the play as a tragedy; and The Cherry Orchard is acknowledged to have beautifully linked components of both.

Considered a new version of The Cherry Orchard, rather than a new translation, the Tom Murphy adaptation premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on February 17, 2004, and was directed by Patrick Mason. An adaptation/translation by Trevor Griffith was previously produced at the Shaw Festival in 1980.

The Cherry Orchard begins preview performances on Thursday, April 22; opens Thursday, May 27; and plays in repertory until Saturday, October 2.  

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In the spirit of George Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever-broadening groups of artists, audiences and supporters are drawn to our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.

Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. For more information, or to download images from our image bank to accompany this release, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck
Public Reations Director
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222
odette@shawfest.com

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224
janand@shawfest.com

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