“The Cherry Orchard” brings laughter, sadness to audience

Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre actors premiered “The Cherry Orchard” Thursday to a packed audience.

Directed by Paula Barrett, an instructor in the communication arts program at Gannon, “The Cherry Orchard” brings laughter and importance during its time in the beginning of the 19th century in Russia.

The Anton Chekhov play occurs on the Ranevskaya’s family country estate where not only their house, but their cherry orchard is going up for auction, due to not paying their mortgage.

The first act of the play takes place in a nursery room.

Lyubov Andreevna Ranevskaya (Cristen Manion), her daughter, Anya (Natalie Pertz), her foster daughter, Varya (Allison Kessler) and her uncle, Leonid Andreevich Gaev (Matt Kridel) revisit their home and orchard one last time before it is placed in someone else’s hands.

Sadness fills the air as the members of the family know as well as the audience does that there is no hope in halting the auction.

The Ranevskayas are arguing with the businessman, Yermolay Alekseich Lopakhin (Keefer Kopco), about any alternatives the family could do to get their prize possession back.

Unfortunately, the estate and orchard has already been sold to a familiar face who you’d be surprised about in the end.

As harsh words and tears are being exchanged back and forth by the Ranevskaya family and Lopakhin, the person who breaks the tension in the room is one of the valets, Firs (Rob Lopez).

Firs is an old man who is not all completely with it.

A family member or any of the peasants of the household ask him a question, he responds with a complete opposite answer.

Audience members could not help but chuckle at his character.

As “The Cherry Orchard” draws to an end, the second act takes place in the drawing room. All the valets, servants and maids who stayed to work for the estate are helping the Ranevskaya family pack up and leave.

Lyubov Andreevna Ranevskaya is having a more difficult time coping with the pain of leaving the estate because it was a place where she grew up and had unlimited amounts of memories stored there.

Luckily for her daughter, Anya, she helped her mother through this rough time by assuring her that she was better off without her and she could always build a new cherry orchard wherever she may reside.

In the end, the Ranevskaya family gathers their belongings, says goodbye to the past and hopes for the future.

Readers can see “The Cherry Orchard” at 8 p.m. Thursday through 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free to Gannon students with I.D. and $5 for the public.

COURTNEY HERZING

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