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.

Join the Event

The screening of this filmed performance is free and open to Princeton students, faculty and staff. Advance registration is required.

Register for La Cerisaie (The Cherry Orchard)

COVID-19 Guidance + Updates

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





Watch video excerpts from La Cerisaie

Watch an interview with Tiago Rodrigues on the play (in French) by young reporters at Festival d’Avignon


tiago with dark hair, beard and shirt looks at cameraThe first ambition of Portuguese actor Tiago Rodrigues is to play with people who’d want to come together and invent shows. His encounter with STAN in 1997, when he was but 20, definitively confirmed his attachment to the absence of hierarchy in a creative group. The freedom of performance and decision given him then would forever influence his future shows. Tiago Rodrigues thus found himself repeatedly and early in his career in a position of instigator, and little by little came to direct and write projects he “stumbled upon.” In parallel to that, he also wrote screenplays, articles, poems, prefaces, op-eds, etc. In 2003, he co-founded with Magda Bizarro the company Mundo Perfeito, with which he created many shows without settling down in any specific location, becoming the guest of many national and international institutions. In France, he notably performed his Portuguese version of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra at the Festival d’Avignon in 2015. By heart is presented in 2014 at the Théâtre de la Bastille, which later invites him to lead an “occupation” of the theater during two months in spring 2016, during which he created Bovary. Director of the Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II in Lisbon since 2014, Tiago Rodrigues nevertheless continues to create shows using the limited means he has appropriated as his own artistic syntax. On a larger scale, he has become a builder of bridges between cities and countries, at once host and advocate of a living theatre. Starting in September 2022, Tiago Rodrigues will head the Avignon Festival after his nomination last July.


With Isabelle Huppert, Isabel Abreu, Tom Adjibi, Nadim Ahmed, Suzanne Aubert, Marcel Bozonnet, Océane Cairaty, Alex Descas, Adama Diop, David Geselson, Grégoire Monsaingeon, Alison Valence
Et Manuela Azevedo, Hélder Gonçalves (musicians)
Text — Anton Chekhov
Translation — André Markowicz and Françoise Morvan
Translation in English for the subtitles — Panthéa
Direction — Tiago Rodrigues
Artistic collaboration — Magda Bizarro
Stage design — Fernando Ribeiro
Lights — Nuno Meira
Costumes — José António Tenente
Make-up, hair dressing — Sylvie Cailler, Jocelyne Milazzo
Music — Hélder Goncalves (composition), Tiago Rodrigues (lyrics)
Sound — Pedro Costa
Assistant direction — Ilyas Mettioui


ProductionFestival d’Avignon
Co-production —Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, Teatro Nacional D. Maria II , Théâtre National Populaire de Villeurbanne, Comédie de Genève, La Coursive Scène nationale de la Rochelle, Wiener Festwochen, Comédie de Clermont Ferrand, National Taichung Theater (Taiwan), Teatro di Napoli – Teatro Nazionale, Fondazione Campania Dei Festival – Compania Teatro Festival, Théâtre de Liège, Holland Festival
With the support of the Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian and the Spedidam for the 75th edition of the Festival d’Avignon
Set construction — Ateliers du Festival d’Avignon
Costumes manufacture — Atelier du TNP de Villeurbanne

With the artistic participation of the Jeune Théâtre Populaire

Residencies La FabricA du Festival d’Avignon, Odéon – Théâtre de l’Europe

In partnership with France Médias Monde


The French Theater Festival is sponsored by Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, L’Avant-Scène, Department of French and Italian, Humanities Council, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Study (PIIRS), Department of Art and Archaeology, Department of Comparative Literature, Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society, Center for French Studies, and Rockefeller College. International sponsors include Festival d’Automne in Paris, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the Education Department of the French Embassy, Institut français, and the French American Cultural Exchange Foundation.

Presented By

  • Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Department of French and Italian
  • L’Avant-Scène