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Timeless Classic Unearths the Good, the Bad and the ugly

Rare chance to experience the timeless brilliance of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard

Chekhov’s Timeless Classic Unearths the Good, the Bad
And the Ugly in Everyone

Auckland Theatre Company’s (ATC) upcoming Kensington Swan Season of The Cherry Orchard will be a rare chance to experience the timeless brilliance of Anton Chekhov’s immortal play.

Chekhov remains one of the world’s greatest playwrights. His final masterpiece, The Cherry Orchard, often cited as one of the best plays ever written, is a tragicomedy: a laughter-through-tears tale of a sociable, intelligent and caring farming family, hopelessly in debt. Unless they can find the funds, their huge estate, including its much-loved cherry orchard, will go to a mortgagee auction.

Racked by indecision, the family and their staff spend one last summer on their beautiful country property, conjuring memories of the past to mask their fears of the future.

Artistic Director Colin McColl has a long history of directing classics with a contemporary twist. For this production he’s worked with playwright Albert Belz (Awhi Tapu, Yours Truly, Raising the Titanics), actor Tainui Tukiwaho (Billy, O Whakaaro, Tangiwai) and ATC Literary Manager Philippa Campbell on a new adaptation.

McColl says, “Classic plays earn their name because they speak human truths to generation after generation. While remaining true to the spirit of the original, the themes and dramaturgy of these plays are so potent and so strong they can survive constant revision, reinterpretation and reimagining.

Chekhov’s characters are pathetic, comic, tragic, trivial, profound and heart-felt all at the same time. I’m interested in capturing these characters moment-by-moment, in all their tenderness, fear and sexiness, and through their sense of loss. This brilliant cast are certainly the right people to provide those moments.”

The star-studded cast includes Alison Bruce (Nell Gwynn, The Almighty Johnsons, Angels in America),Rawiri Paratene (Whale Rider, Globe to Globe: Hamlet, Ian Mune (To Kill A Mockingbird, Lord of the Rings, Once on Chunuk Bair), Te Kohe Tuhaka (Deadlands, Othello, The Vultures), Hera Dunleavy (To Kill A Mockingbird, Nell Gwynn, Other Desert Cities), Andrew Grainger (Nell Gwynn, Billy Elliot the Musical, Te Po), Maria Walker (The Deadlands, Top of the Lake, The Pohutukawa Tree), Eli Kent (The Intricate Art of Actually Caring, Rubber Turkey, Black Confetti), Tainui Tukiwaho (Step Dave, The Almighty Johnsons, Te Karakia), and Joe Dekkers-Reihana (When Sun & Moon Collide, Waru, Time Trackers).

Newcomer Justin Rogers (Mrs Krishnan's Party, The Light Between Oceans) and Shortland Street starIndigo Paul will be making their Auckland Theatre Company and ASB Waterfront Theatre debuts.

Some of New Zealand’s top designers will be working alongside McColl on The Cherry Orchard, including costume designer Elizabeth Whiting (Nell Gwynn, Venus in Fur), composer John Gibson (Nell Gwynn, Billy Elliot the Musical, Lysistrata, Chicago) and set and lighting designer Tony Rabbit (A Doll’s House, Awatea, A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

The Cherry Orchard is the fifth show in Auckland Theatre Company’s 2018 season and plays 12-26 Juneat the ASB Waterfront Theatre.



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