My Directing Presentation – Jonathan Smith. The Cherry Orchard Written by : Anton Chekhov
Setting I want to keep to the original setting and time. My main reason for this, is because one of the biggest themes that runs through the play, is the effect social change has on people and in the play, this was portrayed through the Emancipation of the slerfs. For this reason, I wouldn’t want to make the play contemporary because it would be hard to keep this theme accurate. Another reason is because, a good majority of the characters in the play are slaves, and slave labour is no longer permitted, so it wouldn’t seem to make sense in a contemporary setting.
My Interpretation on the play • When the play was first written, it was directed by Chekhov himself, and his intention was that the play would be a farce. • Shortly after this, Stanislavski got a hold of the play, but he decided to directed it as a serious piece of theatre instead. • I like both of these ideas, and so I would like to incorporate them both into my production. I don’t want it to be a complete farce like Chekhov intended, but I would like it to have aspects of comedy. Likewise, I don’t want the play to be serious all of the time, instead I want to take the audience on an emotional rollercoaster.
The Set – Act 1 The first act is set in the room called the Nursery. I want the set for this room to reflect the current acts atmosphere. I want the set to appear happy, vibrant and promising at a first glance, but upon closer detail, I want it to seem hopeless and dark. To do this, I will use props such as, a table, a fireplace and a hanging chandelier (This will create a cozy atmosphere) To create the dark atmosphere, I want to put 4 windows across the back of the stage, two of them bordered up, and the other 2 covered with a light frost and a small amount of moss. I want to do this, because during the whole of act 1, there is a happy vibe that runs through the majority of the characters, because they have all seen each other again, but there is also the underlining problem that they have no money. Even despite this Gaev promises Anya he will find some money.
The Set – Act 2 This act is all outdoors. I want to keep the set for this act simple. The reason I want to do this is because, in the whole of the play, it’s the only act that is based solely outside and for this reason I only want to portray the natural beauty of the cherry orchard, to the audience.
The Set – Act 3 This act is set just after Ranevskaya’s party. To create this effect, I want low music playing from the side of the stage. This act is also set in the drawing room. The props I will need for this set are; Two small cupboards, A long window, which sits just above a table.
The Set – Act 4 The final act is set back where the play began, the nusery, I want the set to be exactly the same during this act, concerning the props. But I want there to be a sense of change, since we last saw the nursery, because there has been a lot of change in the play. For instance, the loss of the cherry orchard. I want to make this changes subtle, so to do this, Instead of having 2 of the windows shut, I will have all 4 of them shut. And instead of having the fire burning, it will have been put out.
Props List • Book Pocket watch cigar Pocket-book • Candle coffee pot coins champagne • Chairs Travelling bag purse small mirror • Bouquet saucer telegram • Food (Representing Kvass) tray • Fiers’s stick sugar-candy water • Handkerchief pill-pot pack of cards • Parcel pipe Boxes • Umbrella guitar cups
Costumes One of the themes that runs throughout the play is social class, and I want to portray this through the characters costumes. To do this will be simple, any character that is low classed will wear shabby, cheap looking clothes. And any character that is high on the social class will wear, tidy, expensive looking clothes.
Costume Examples Low Status High Status
Music I want music playing as the audience enters the room. I want this to happen, because I want the audience to be engrossed in the play and the atmosphere as soon as they walk into the room, and playing music from the 1900 era will help with that. The music I have chosen for this is a song called “The entertainer by Scott Joplin” I have chosen this song, because not only is it still well known to this day, but it was also written in the year 1902, which would be very appropriate for the play.
The effect I want on the audience I want the audience to see the effect the emancipation of the Serfs had on Russia, this is mostly portrayed through the characters Lopakhin and serfs, one of them becoming a very rich and successful man (Lopakhin) , and the other keeps his status as a serf and eventually dies because of Lopakhin’s builders demolishing the house with him inside it. I want the audience to be effected by the mixed genre of performance, meaning, I want the audience to be smiling one minute and upset the next.
What I want the audience to feel I want the audience to feel sorry for Fiers, he is an old servant who has spent the majority of his life working by the Cherry Orchard and in the end dies with it. I want the audience to understand the symbolism of the cherry Orchard of how it represents the old social order, and the destruction of it is the change in the social order. I also want the audience to understand that Anya is a symbol of hope.