Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Book 33: The Cherry Orchard/Finished.
Now, I liked the play, but it didn't leave me feeling profoundly changed like I feel I should have been. I think it had the essence of greatness, but that was lost on me (Again, I will say that I think from now on I need to listen to the non-Shakespearean plays so I can fully appreciate them. I lose something by just staring at the text). However, this is definitely something I want to read again, or see live. I think I would love it more.
The play begins with a Russian family returning home to their estate in the countryside after having been in Paris for five years. While they were gone, the estate and attached cherry orchard were cared for by the servants they left behind and the matriarch's (Madame Ranevskaya) eldest daughter.
It is made known from the beginning that some portion, or all, of the estate must be sold to pay off debts. There are plans made for ways for the estate to be saved, but Madame Ranevskaya seems reluctant to follow through, especially when a good neighbor suggest destroying the cherry orchard to build homes.
It almost seems as if there is a huge battle between old and new, the young and the old. In particular, I was drawn to the character of Firs, an old, senile servant who rambles about things and who no one seems to take seriously. The last scene with him was truly touching.
In all, I think this was a powerful story that fell flat in my reading of it on the page. It needs character and life and the vision that Chekov probably dreamed of. If I ever get a chance to, this is something I definitely need to see performed.