Ruth Leon recommends… Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jessica Hecht in ChekhovRuth Leon recommends
Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jessica Hecht in Chekhov
The Orchard, a hybrid production for in-person audiences and virtual theatregoers, starts this week in New York.
It is an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s great play The Cherry Orchard by Ukrainian-born theatre director Igor Golyak. It stars Jessica Hecht as Ranevskaya and Mikhail Baryshnikov, who will play both Anton Chekhov and Firs, and Juliet Brett as Anya.
Audiences in the theatre will enter an immersive environment where perceptions, illusions, and reality collide as a family in crisis tries to process their future. The virtual experience invites audiences on a journey through a three-dimensional property that has been abandoned and is in foreclosure. Audiences can explore magical rooms where they uncover echoes of a past life, including Chekhov’s letters, memories, and, ultimately, the play, live, in progress at the Baryshnikov Arts Center Off-Broadway.
The in-person and online versions will run concurrently for each performance. Partway through the performances, the two versions intersect and the worlds come together.
“This is a story about the delicate relationships at the center of a family facing the end of the world as they know it,” says Golyak. “We are living through an unimaginable time of change and destruction with the war in Ukraine and with the pandemic. As humans, we are perpetually losing our cherry orchards, losing our worlds. This play is about us today.”
Previews will begin Off-Broadway at The Baryshnikov Arts Center May 31.