Theatre in Wales

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RACHEL O’RIORDAN AND GARY OWEN REUNITE FOR REIMAGINING OF CHEKHOV COMEDY THE CHERRY ORCHARD Sherman Theatre Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan is to direct a radical reimagining of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard by the celebrated stage writer Gary Owen. Following acclaim for their collaboration Killology which premiered at Sherman Theatre in spring 2017 and will run at the Royal Court Theatre from 25 May – 24 June and Iphigenia in Splott in 2015, The Cherry Orchard marks the first time they have worked together on an adaptation of a classic.
Rachel O’Riordan said “Chekhov is one of the great playwrights. His ability to articulate human interaction, with all its flaws and misunderstandings, makes him a natural writer for Gary Owen to adapt. The idea of Gary reimagining The Cherry Orchard was very exciting to me. I have directed two of Gary’s plays before, but we haven’t worked on a more classically structured piece, so I’m really looking forward to continuing my partnership with this wonderful playwright, and looking afresh at one of the great classical plays.”
Published in 1904 shortly before the Russian Revolution, Chekhov’s play captures a world on the brink of social upheaval. It is a witty, compassionate study of humanity’s flaws, foibles and our refusal to face what is right in front of us.
Owen’s take on The Cherry Orchard places the action in early 80s Britain, at the dawn of another revolution – the Thatcher regime, which swept away the post-war consensus and created the country we live in today. It is to be set in a rambling, ramshackle old manor house on the sun-kissed south Pembrokeshire coast where Rainey raised her children, surrounded by golden beaches and lush green orchards. But the untimely death of her beloved son and husband sent her fleeing to London, abandoning what remained of her family. Now, with the bank threatening to repossess, Rainey is forced back home to face her ghosts – and her furious daughters – or lose everything.
Since Rachel O’Riordan joined as Artistic Director the Sherman has worked hard to develop and nurture an audience for new work. She said “with A Play, A Pie and A Pint, our ongoing initiative with Òran Mór, and co-productions with the Royal Exchange, Paines Plough and the Royal Court, we have made work which chimes with audiences in Cardiff and beyond and developed the work of Welsh playwrights. Gary Owen’s version of The Cherry Orchard is an opportunity for a Welsh writer to contribute in a new way to the canon of Welsh plays – to reimagine a classical play from a Welsh perspective. This is a main stage production of new work, and we know our audiences are excited by that, having been on this journey with us.”
The Cherry Orchard has been specially selected as a cornerstone of Wales’ Russia’17
season that marks the centenary of the Russian revolution with a range of events which capture the social and cultural revolutions of the era, and Wales’ historic connections with the Russia of the time.
Also as part of the Russia ’17 season the Sherman Players, the theatre’s drama group for people aged 18 and above, will perform Nikolai Gogol’s biting satire The Government Inspector. A razor sharp comedy of errors which originally targeted 1800’s Imperial Russia, it portrays political corruption, greed and organisational incompetence. Directed by Anna Poole, it will be performed at Sherman Theatre 13 – 15 July 2017.
Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard is reimagined by Gary Owen and directed by Sherman Theatre’s Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan. It reunites the creative team from previous Sherman Theatre productions A Doll’s House and The Weir with designer Kenny Miller, lighting designer Kevin Treacy and composer Simon Slater. It premieres at Sherman Theatre, 13 – 28 October 2017. Casting is to be announced.
Iphigenia in Splott, Gary Owen and Rachel O’Riordan’s first collaboration, can currently be seen at the Brits Off Broadway festival at New York’s 59E59 Theatre.

Sherman Theatre, Senghennydd Road, Cardiff, CF24 4YE
13 – 28 October 2017, 7.30pm (except 17 October, 7pm) and 19 and 28 October, 2pm. Previews 13, 14 & 16 October, 7.30pm.
Tickets £16 - £26 | Half price for under 25s | £2 off for concessions Post Show Talks, evenings 19 and 24 October
Captioned performance, 27 October 7.30pm | 029 2064 6900
Sherman Theatre Cardiff  
web site
Ed Newsome
Monday, May 15, 2017back



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