Poets claim that we recapture for a moment the self that we were long ago
when we enter some house or garden in which we used to live in our youth.
But these are most hazardous pilgrimages,
which end as often in disappointment as in success.
The Cherry Orchard begins and ends in a special room, still called “the children’s room” to this day.
The masters will be arriving soon, they have traveled a lot, they have lived and dissipated their lives.
Children grown old who are returning home.
And yet, the feeling which permeates the work has nothing to do with nostalgia or regrets, but rather with something inseparably tied to childhood, like some mysterious organs children have and which become atrophied upon adulthood.
The ominous presence of the axe looming over the orchard causes a feeling of unknown pain, an awakening of those organs which are not yet fully vestigial in their vital function. A nameless pain which can only be soothed by looking the child we used to be in the eye.
There is no plot, nothing happens, everything is in the characters. A musical score of souls where dialogues are interior monologues which intertwine and cross one another. A single breath, a single voice.
There is no elegiac tone, it is a distillation of real life: it is said, it is acted upon.
A quaint little waltz in a comedy woven in death. Gentle comedy, never exhibited, a perfect counterpoint in a poetic and ruthless work. The characters laugh and are often overcome with emotion, though this doesn’t mean one must actually cry, it is more of a state of the soul, as Cechov writes in a letter, which should turn to happiness immediately after.
By coating the eyes of his characters in a veil of tears Cechov hints at the blurry sight of the reality we can sense, a reality devoid of contours. As the opaque and deformed window panes of old houses, full of impurities which offered an aesthetic vision of life beyond the window, so the tears erode the shapes perceived by the eyes: objects and people meld into one another, colors fade to half-tones, traits and voices disperse. To the point where one begins to lose track of who is speaking, if it’s a voice coming from another room or our own selves through the words of another.
The writing itself eases this dissolving of center and focus: the work is strewn with small obstacles and misunderstandings, even in the language, breaks in the syntax, bouts of crying, songs, apnea, snoring, muttering and nursery rhymes, and then the sounds. Everything concurs into a music score which, as Mejerchol’d writes, is like a symphony by Čajkovskij.
By | Anton Pavlovic Cechov
With | Arianna Aloi, Andrea Bartolomeo, Leonardo Capuano, Marta Cortellazzo Wiel, Massimiliano Donato, Chiara Michelini, Felice Montervino, Fabio Monti, Massimiliano Poli, Valentina Sperlì, Bruno Stori, Petra Valentini
Dramaturgy, scenes, lights, costumes | Alessandro Serra
Production | Compagnia Umberto Orsini, Accademia Perduta Romagna Teatri, Teatro Stabile del Veneto, TPE – Teatro Piemonte Europa
In collaboration with | Compagnia Teatropersona, Triennale Teatro dell’Arte di Milano