by Dayna Kalakau, staff writer
|To be, or not to be—classic? That was the
question on the mind of HPU theater director, Joyce Maltby, when
she chose this semester’s featured play. Her production
of The Cherry Orchard, written by Russian playwright, Anton Chekov,
is bound, she believes, to please theater enthusiasts.
The Cherry Orchard is set in turn-of-the-20th-century Czarist
Russia. The aristocratic Lyubov Ranevskaya, played by Eden-Lee
Murray, and her daughter, Anya, played by Chelsea Jones, return
home from Paris to find that their estate, including a cherry
orchard, will be sold at an auction to pay off the family’s
debt. Everyone in the family seems more concerned that they will
lose the cherry orchard than they are that they will lose their
ancestral home. However, no one—not even Ranevskaya’s
brother, Gayev, played by John Hunt, nor her stepdaughter, Varya,
played by Melinda Maltby—can suggest a viable solution,
except one of their former servants, Lopakhin, played by James
Lopakhin suggests to the family that they cut down the orchard
and lease the property, but nothing is done. In an ironic twist
of fortune, Lopakhin, the ex-servant, buys Ranevskaya’s
estate, and the family must deal with its loss of wealth and
Social reform is the theme Chekov explores in The Cherry Orchard.
He addresses the changes in the feudal system which were occuring
in Russia in the late-19th century. Aristocrats and landowners
experienced hardship because they were incapable of living without
labor provided by serfs, who increasingly were finding ways to
free themselves from their ties to land and families.
Maltby chose The Cherry Orchard not only because it is one of
her favorites, but because it is recognized around the world
as a classic. It’s a staple for any theater’s repertoire.
I feel that the University should do the classics, and doing
such plays is important,” she said.
Rehearsals for this semester’s theater production have
already begun at the Hawai‘I Loa campus, and Maltby is
optimistic about the upcoming play.
They’re going very well with five more weeks before the
show opens,” said Maltby. “We have an excellent cast.”
The Cherry Orchard opens at the Paul and Vi Loo Theatre on the
Hawai‘i Loa campus on March 30 and plays through April
29. Tickets are $3 for HPU students and $14 for other students,
senior citizens, military, and HPU faculty and staff. General
admission is $20. For more information about show dates and tickets,
call the box office at (808)375-1282.
Cherry Orchard cast: