11 Questions with the cast of The Cherry Orchard – Sarah Malin

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Sarah Malin (centre) in The Cherry Orchard at the Young Vic. Photo by Stephen Cummiskey.

Sarah Malin can be seen on stage at the Young Vic as Charlotte Ivanovna. Here are her answers to our 11 Questions…

Can you describe your character in The Cherry Orchard in three words?
Tough, independent, alone.

What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?
Having a think.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
White toast with marmite and hot chocolate.

What are you most passionate about?
Feminism and my children. 

If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the 4 extra hours?
Sleep and read. And write.

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Books. And delicious apples.

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
France this summer camping. Lots of croissants and swimming in rivers.

Favourite city and why?
Paris. The bridges.

What is your favourite song?
The Moon is a Grapefruit by Tom Waits

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?
20s as a (wealthy) flapper. All that dancing and music.
Basically I’d like to be Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
Sliding through walls – to escape difficult situations.

The Cherry Orchard is at the Young Vic until 29 Nov. Watch the gripping trailer here.

www.youngvic.org/whats-on/the-cherry-orchard

4 Stars for The Cherry Orchard at the Young Vic

The reviews are in for The Cherry Orchard. Read below to find out what the critics think and click here to see the amazing audience response so far.

★★★★
“Swift, invigorating and outspoken”
The Observer – read the full review here

★★★★
“Kate Duchêne is brilliantly volatile and Dominic Rowan is superb”
The Independent – read the full review here

★★★★
“Excellent… teems with life”
The Times – read the full review here

★★★★
Katie Mitchell, “crafting a series of ever more avant-garde works”
TimeOut – read the full review here

★★★★
“A production that burns with an intensity and clarity of emotions”
The Stage – read the full review here

The Cherry Orchard runs at the Young Vic until Nov 29. Book now.

The Cherry Orchard Parallel Production – written by Anthony Lau in Taking Part’s community show

The Cherry Orchard parallel production at the Young Vic

The Cherry Orchard parallel production at the Young Vic.

Written towards the end of Chekhov’s life and first performed in 1904 at the Moscow Arts Theatre, much has been made of The Cherry Orchard by all sorts of academics, directors, historians, actors, writers, teachers, students and even politicians. The list could go on, as could the roll call of eminent directors, designers and actors who have variously worked on this great play in some way, shape or form. These include Peter Brook, Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn, Sam Mendes, Howard Davies, Peggy Ashcroft, Judi Dench, Ian Holm, Meryl Streep, Ben Kingsley, Timothy Spall, Diana Rigg, Simon Russell-Beale and now Katie Mitchell and company!

It was the play that Stanislavski and Chekhov famously fell out over. Chekhov believed his play to be a comedy yet Stanislavski insisted on directing it as a tragedy. So which is it? A farcical comedy or a heartbreaking tragedy? The truth is that it’s probably a bit of both and this duality is certainly something that we had to deal with as a company. Interestingly, in the introduction to his version for the National Theatre, David Lan made the assertion that genre had always been very important to European writers and that, “In a ‘tragedy’ the hero achieves self knowledge through suffering. In a ‘comedy’ the heroes suffer but learn nothing.” As the unmistakeable and overwhelming sound of a chainsaw floods the theatre at the end of our production and the proverbial curtain fell, the characters in our Cherry Orchard most certainly had not learnt from their mistakes so perhaps in this way has David Lan well expounded it!

Another question constantly asked is how much of the play is autobiographical? Chekhov spent many summers as a child at a family friend’s cherry orchard before it was cut down through industrialisation whilst he himself planted and owned a cherry orchard outside of Moscow before that in turn was cut down by the Estate’s new owners. As a child, his family home in Taganrog was sold to pay off the mortgage whilst his mother was also cheated of her home by an ex lodger who paid off her debts by buying their house. No doubt all of these isolated incidents had combined together to partially form the seeds of this play but it is often all too easy to attribute the narrative arc of a play to biographical incidents. Whilst the parallels remain clear, perhaps it is less useful to consider the merits of the play as an insight into Chekhov’s personal history and psyche and more interesting to assess Chekhov’s opinions of these characters and why he has told us the story that he has. Invariably, this leads onto further questions, did Chekhov identify with one character more than the others? How did Chekhov really feel about the shifts in Russian society and politics? To these, I leave to you to make your own minds up… part of the joy and challenge of working on The Cherry Orchard has been to decipher meaning and to make sense of this multifaceted play ourselves- we would hate to deprive you of this same journey and puzzle!

As such, what concerned me most, when the Young Vic offered me the opportunity to direct this great play was how we, as a young company, would collectively answer these questions and engage with this famously complex and adult play. It turns out that I need not have worried. The company has been brilliant at approaching this play from day one, questioning and analysing it- and in doing so helping me see the play again for the first time. These young actors have offered a fresh perspective, constantly challenging the established notions and preconceptions of The Cherry Orchard– they have brought themselves to their parts and in that way reshaped the play and provided subtle shifts and nuances so different from other productions.

I like to think that our Anya is so much stronger and the relationship with her mother more complicated and realistic. Our Peter has found a revolutionary zeal that is perhaps less faithful to the fallibility of the original text, but brings a new dynamic through his ethnicity. In his mouth, the words surrounding slavery take on a whole new dimension- especially in that isolated scene with Anya. As for our Firs, well he has taken on a metaphysical and metatextual agenda- increasing the stakes between himself and Ranevskaya as well as connecting with us as an audience. This is perhaps not the most faithful rendition of The Cherry Orchard ever created but in tackling their parts and this play, these young actors have never once being cowed by the reputation of the play, writer or characters within it and as a result, what we have is an entirely unique version of The Cherry Orchard. It has been driven forward by the imagination, personality and conviction of this young company as much as the creatives working alongside them. They have embraced the relationships, found new stories and niches within the text and perhaps most importantly, recognised and directly engaged with the themes and questions surrounding social change. The identity of this production is unquestionably theirs and they have been the beating heart of our reimagining and response to Chekhov’s original. I hope we have succeeded in not only capturing the essence of The Cherry Orchard, but also posed some new questions in our interpretation- to those of you who managed to catch it, we hope you enjoyed it!

The Cherry Orchard Parallel Production was directed by Anthony Lau.

11 Questions with the cast of The Cherry Orchard – Paul Hilton

The Cherry Orchard at the Young Vic

Paul Hilton in The Cherry Orchard at the Young Vic. Photo by Stephen Cummiskey.

Paul Hilton can be seen on stage at the Young Vic as Peter Trofimov. Here are his answers to our 11 Questions…

Can you describe your character in The Cherry Orchard in three words?
Stinky, depressed, idealist.

What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?
Lying on my back and breathing.

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?
As You Like It – Shakespeare. (I met my wife while working together on this.)

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Hot buttered toast or crumpets.

What is your favourite word?
Petrichor – the smell of earth after rain.

What are you most passionate about?
Equality.

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
My family (& my dog Arthur.)

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
Lleyn Peninsula (North Wales.) Every year for 30 years.

What is your favourite song?
Where I End and You Begin and anything else by Radiohead.

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?
I’ll stick with 1970.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
I wish I could fly. Who doesn’t?!

The Cherry Orchard is at the Young Vic until 29 Nov. Book now.

11 Questions with the cast of The Cherry Orchard – Angus Wright

Angus Wright in The Cherry Orchard at the Young Vic.

Centre: Angus Wright in rehearsals for The Cherry Orchard at the Young Vic.
Photo by Stephen Cummiskey.

Angus Wright can be seen on stage at the Young Vic as Leonid Gaev. Here are his answers to our 11 Questions…

Can you describe your character in The Cherry Orchard in three words?
Obsessive, solitary, entitled.

What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?
Preparing the immediate circumstances before the start of the play.

What is your favorite play (seen, read or worked on)?
Measure for Measure or Cat in the Hat.

What is your favorite word?
Pinkelpause. Its the German word for a toilet break. Literally, a pee-pause.

If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the 4 extra hours?
Learn Arabic.

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
A combination of Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon-Dioxide.

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
Thailand.

Favourite city and why?
New York. New York.

What is your favorite song?
Heaven by Talking Heads.

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?
The Stone Age. No commuting. No Facebook.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
Time travel. So I could re-write some of these answers.

The Cherry Orchard is at the Young Vic until 29 Nov. Book now.

11 Questions with the cast of The Cherry Orchard – Kate Duchêne

YOUNG VIC THEATRE: THE CHERRY ORCHARD, 2014

Kate Duchêne (Lyubov Ranevskaya) in The Cherry Orchard. Photo by Stephen Cummiskey.

Kate Duchêne can be seen on stage at the Young Vic as Lyubov Ranevskaya. Here are her answers to our 11 Questions…

Can you describe your character in The Cherry Orchard in three words?
Lonely, manipulative, fun.

What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?Sitting backstage imagining I’m on a train.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Peanut butter.

What is your favourite word?
‘Shriveled’ – because it sounds exactly like what it means.

What are you most passionate about?
My children.

If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the 4 extra hours?
Sleep.

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
Eigg.

Favourite city and why?
Paris. I live there when I was mall and it is still a paradise for me.

What is your favourite song?
The farewell song from Cosi Fan Tutte.

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?Now is the best time.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
Flying – I used to have great flying dream.

The Cherry Orchard is at the Young Vic until 29 Nov. Book now.

4 stars for A Season in the Congo – updated with Sunday reviews

10 A Season in the Congo – Ira Mandela Siobhan, Josépha Madoki, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Patrice Lumumba, Sandra Reid, Oliver Tida Tida. Photo by Johan Persson.

A Season in the Congo – now until 24 August!

Everybody’s talking about Joe Wright’s production of A Season in the Congo. Check out some of the reviews below…

   
Mail on Sunday


“Chiwetel Ejiofor delivers a passionate performance”
The Sunday Telegraph – read the full review here


“Astonishing, rousing, chilling… Intoxicating theatre”
The Guardian – read the full review here


“Right from the start, when the lights rise on an opened-out arena-style public space, pulsing with the rhythm and colour of an African night, we know we’re in for something special.”
Evening Standard – read the full review here


“Chiwetel Ejiofor is perfect in Joe Wright’s storming, spectacular production”
The Times 


“A searing evening of theatre”
Metro   – read the full review here


“Sprawling, vibrant, monumental”
Daily Telegraph  – read the full review here

   
“Wright’s vibrant production brims with Congolese music and dance”
The Independent – read the full review here

“A production of such colour and passion that I came out thrilled and honoured to have seen it… Chiwetel Ejiofor is absolutely amazing, superb, incredible”
Huffington Post – read the full review here

“The role of Lumumba demands greatness. Chiwetel Ejiofor delivers it… The integrity that radiates throughout his complex, powerful and tender performance suffuses the whole production.”
The Observer – read the full review here

“Haunting, electrifying”
The Independent on Sunday – read the full review here

A sharp indictment of colonialism”
Financial Times 

A Season in the Congo runs until 24 August. Tickets are available at youngvic.org.