WAAPA brings Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard to Perth College

Anton Chekhov’s theatrical masterpiece The Cherry Orchard is about a family on the edge of ruin – and a country on the brink of revolution.

This might not sound particularly pertinent to modern Australian audiences but director Michael Abercromby, who is directing WAAPA’s 2nd Year Acting students in a production of the play at Perth College’s Judith Cottier Theatre from 15-20 March, disagrees.

“In the 21st century, over 100 years since the play first appeared on stage, we are in an almost perpetual state of flux,” he explains. “We are moving at such a pace that those who do not bend, break. And those who hang on to the old get left behind, often with disastrous consequences. That’s the lesson this play teaches.”

Abercromby is directing the 2nd Year students in a new translation of The Cherry Orchard by award-wining English playwright Simon Stephens. Stephens is perhaps best known to Australian audiences for his adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which won both Olivier and Tony Awards for Best New Play.

“Progress is coming whether you like it or not. That’s what Simon Stephens has really focused on in this translation of The Cherry Orchard,” says Abercromby.

“He has trimmed back all the fat often present in Chekhov, and focused in on the wave of progress that is affecting the characters. This wave can either be ridden smoothly or resisted; crashing down with destructive force.”

Perth-born Abercromby is himself a WAAPA graduate who, after four years spent honing his acting, writing and directing skills in Sydney, has returned to his alma mater to undertake his Masters in Directing.

Among his many theatre credits, Abercromby wrote and directed Lucidity, which enjoyed a critically acclaimed sell-out season at the 2016 Adelaide Fringe Festival; directed After the End by Dennis Kelly at Kings Cross Theatre that same year; and, as co-Artistic Director of JackRabbit Theatre, wrote and directed Front at The Depot Theatre in 2017. In January this year, Abercromby directed the West Australian premiere of Front at Perth’s Blue Room Theatre.

“It has been surreal being back at WAAPA, but also a wonderful honour to return to where I studied,” says Abercromby. “I just hope to give the students the same experience I had when treading the boards in second year!”

The Cherry Orchard will be at Judith Cottier Theatre (Perth College) from Friday 15th – Wednesday 20th March. For tickets and more information head to waapa.ecu.edu.au

Source:- Media release

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