By DANIELLE WILEY
Robert Caisley, the show’s director, said the story is of a woman, who finding herself in a great deal of debt, is being forced to sell her estate and the family’s cherry orchard. Usually portrayed as a drama or tragedy, the play has been produced as a comedy by Caisley.
Caisley said Chekhov called his play a comedy, but it was changed into a dark tragedy by the play’s first producer without his consent. He said, though, that the play is not a comedy by the standards of Hollywood but rather by the subtle and classic definition.
“With that in mind I want to serve the author’s intention and try to produce the play as a comedy,” Caisley said.
“It’s his last play … and he knew he was dying when he sat down and wrote the play. So I think that what the play encapsulates is someone who knows that they are dying but has this incredible passion and wants to live, and that’s what makes it a comedy.”
He said a professor from the UI history department taught cast and crew about pre-revolutionary Russia, the setting of “The Cherry Orchard,” which opened in Moscow in 1904.
A graphic design student created the play’s posters and a composing student from the music department is helping the sound engineer with the production’s soundtrack.
“It’s not unusual when we produce a play to solicit help from other departments,” Caisley said. “In the theater we have to become like minor experts in the subject. It’s part of an actor’s training, part of a director’s training and part of a producer’s training.”
if you go
WHAT: The Cherry Orchard
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., April 24-26 and May 1-3
WHERE: The Hartung Theater on the UI campus
COST: Tickets available at Kibbie Dome Box Office, by calling (208) 885-7212 or at the door. $10 adults, $8 UI faculty, staff and seniors, free for college students with ID