Friday 16 January 2009

waiting for the new code

Sam Mendes' production of The Cherry Orchard opened in New York this week. The cast includes Ethan Hawke, Simon Russell Beale (pic), Sinead Cusack and Rebecca Hall.

Chekhov's last play (it premiered in 1904) depicts a world on the verge of huge changes. The New York Times critic Ben Brantley sees parallels with today:

'People are always misspeaking in The Cherry Orchard, stupidly and hurtfully, because no language could properly reflect a shifting social order that has yet to assume any solid form.'

'The old codes don’t apply, but the new ones haven’t arrived yet. Which makes the early 20th century sound an awful lot like the early 21st century.'

(See the green side of Chekhov.)

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