After long years spent in exile in Paris, Lyubov, a strange and elusive woman, returns to her ancestral estate, which is about to be sold to pay off the family’s debts. As the center around which the play revolves, forever oscillating between tragedy and comedy, this maternal figure, this mater dolorosa, played by Isabelle Huppert, returns to a family unsettled by the future of the estate, and more largely, by the world that she had left behind. Modern society, with its social changes, is right around the corner, noisily announcing its arrival.
When he thinks of La Cerisaie (The Cherry Orchard), Tiago Rodrigues has a secret tempo in mind, allegro vivace, and is convinced that the Russian master’s last play is about the energy with which “the inescapable power of change” propels the characters from one act to the next. If, along with his cast and crew, he decided to explore the anxiety, reactions, and counter-reactions this change causes, he also wanted to study the hopes any new world carries within in, even as no one can truly understand them yet. In Chekhov’s words, the director found precious material with which to fuel his dramatic machine, break the fourth wall, and bring the audience together around the great challenges of today.
A physician by training, Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) is the most famous playwright in Russian literature. A fervent believer in progress and happiness, his lucidity and his rejection of illusions about men, society, or religion, were the basis for his work, and led to a renewal in the understanding of theatre at the time.
The play premiered at the 75th Avignon Festival last July. It marks the return to Princeton of Tiago Rodrigues, who presented By Heart at Seuls en Scène 2017.
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The screening of this filmed performance is free and open to Princeton students, faculty and staff. Advance registration is required.
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Per Princeton University policy, all audiences attending indoor events are required to be fully vaccinated and to wear a mask. Visitors may attend outdoor events and are not required by current University policy to attest to COVID-19 vaccination or wear a face covering.
The filmed performance is presented in French. Visit our Venues and Studios section for accessibility information at our various locations. Attendees in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at least two weeks in advance at LewisCenter@princeton.edu.