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March 3-11: Theatre department presents ‘The Cherry Orchard’

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Feb 14, 2017

A family on the edge of ruin and a country on the brink of revolution. That’s the setting for the CLC Theatre department’s production of “The Cherry Orchard,” written by Anton Chekhov and translated by Tom Stoppard.

In the play, a once wealthy family struggles to save its estate and beloved cherry orchard, which have been put up for auction to pay their debts. Will they sacrifice their past glory to save their beloved orchard or will denial and inaction seal their fate?

Performances will take place March 3-4 and 9-11 at 7:30 p.m., March 5 at 2 p.m. and March 10 at 10 a.m. for high school students.

Set in 1904 Russia after a turbulent 40 year-period, “The Cherry Orchard” is about change and how society adapts to it. “Revolution is in the air and has been in the air. However, the play isn’t overtly political, and that’s one thing I like about it,” said Director Scott Mullins. “The show looks at a family and how willing they are to adapt to changes in the social and political environment. With our country currently facing a time of flux and change, I think it’s interesting to look at how people adapt to change,” he said.

Cherry Orchard familyPhoto, clockwise from left: Ned Ricks (Gaev), Rodrigo Arreola (Lopahkin), Jessica Ellingsen (Varya) and Emma Dreher (Ranevskaya).

Mullins read six translations of the Russian play before selecting this one by Tom Stoppard, an English playwright famous for “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (1964) and “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” (1978). Stoppard also co-wrote the Academy Award-winning screenplay for “Shakespeare in Love” (1998). Stoppard’s use of language is vital to the play’s accessibility, Mullins said. “What happens to the people is tragic, but Stoppard does a great job with the language that makes it comedic at same time,” he said.

The New York Times praised Stoppard’s translation. “This ‘Cherry Orchard,’ is a nimble new version by Tom Stoppard that invites fresh comic shadings, pushes that sense of the incongruous not so much into farce as into ‘Alice in Wonderland’ absurdity... Mr. Stoppard’s adaptation is full of classically Stoppardesque instances of eloquence gone awry.”

Mullins was surprised to learn this is the first Chekhov play done by the CLC Theatre department in its 48-year history. “Like Henrik Ibsen, Chekhov is one of the seminal playwrights of modern theatre who wrote classic stories that stand the test of time. These are relevant stories of the human condition; classics that a well-read person should know,” Mullins said.

“The Cherry Orchard” cast, hometowns and roles:

Rodrigo Arreola (Lake Bluff) as Lopahkin; Jeff Brain (Antioch) as Pishchik; Brooke Buchtenkirch (Round Lake Beach) as Charlotta; Ben Compton (Winthrop Harbor) as Yepikhodov; Moisés Diaz (Waukegan) as Trofimov; Emma Dreher (Libertyville) as Ranevskaya; Jessie Ellingsen (Skokie) as Varya; Alexander Gray (Zion) as Station Master; Terry Healy (Mundelein) as Firs; Juan Hernandez (Round Lake Beach) as Passerby and Servant; Cole Hessenthaler (Zion) as Parlor Maid; Jenna Eve Kleinofen (Grayslake) as Dunyasha; Rachael Lester (Libertyville) as Anya; Max Ramage (Zion) as Post Office Clerk; Ned Ricks (Gurnee) as Gaev; Richard Seng (Round Lake Park) as Yasha.

Performances will take place in Studio Theatre, James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake.

Tickets: $12 general admission; $10 tickets for CLC/Teen/Seniors 65+. Ticket prices include JLC $2 facility fee). Special price tickets: Buy one ticket, get one free for March 3 and 9 shows. For tickets, call (847) 543-2300 or visit The Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 12-5 p.m. and 60 minutes prior to each performance at the Studio Theatre of the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake.