Cherry Orchard, by Anton Chekhov, is an upcoming University of Dallas drama production;performances start on April 4 and will continue through the 14. It is directed by Kyle Lemieux, associate professor of drama. .
The play will take place in the drama building instead of the Margaret Jonsson Theater, but this change of location is specifically designed to enhance the experience of the production.
“I chose Cherry Orchard because I wanted to revisit Chekhov in the department, and because it is a play that asks: how do we deal with change?” Lemieux wrote in an email. “I wanted to provide an intimate and deep way of seeing this question explored. This is how we ended up performing it in the drama building instead of the Margaret Jonsson Theater, which is our usual performance home. I am interested in the ways plays and places interact and dialogue with each other within the context of the event of a play.”
Lemieux said that the Chekhov’s works are incredibly dynamic and active and that the performance will be an exciting testament to the playwright’s abilities.
“Chekhov’s four great plays are such gifts to actors as he is unmatched in his ability to create a world of people; living, thriving, yearning instead of adhering to a traditional protagonist and antagonist structure,” Lemieux wrote. “He really upends traditional dramaturgy and expands our horizons of possibility about what a stage can hold.”
“This is my last production as a senior drama major and I have to say that the experience has been wonderful,” Ellen Rogers said. ”I cherish the opportunity to help with this production in any capacity that I can. It has been very special for me.”
Lemieux commented on his enjoyable experience with the student actors of this production.
“They are a blast to work with every night,” Lemieux wrote. “I’m sad to see rehearsals end! It has been a real pleasure for me to work on this play with this particular group. Some talented seniors who are quite experienced and about to leave UD for their next chapters balanced by gifted freshmen who are growing every day, and I can’t wait to work with [them] again. I’ve learned a great deal about this play from them and about Chekhov.”
“Kyle Lemieux is a very generous director, and he has a really clear vision of what he wants this play to be,” Rogers said. “It’s been a really great process as an actor because we have been building this play from the ground up as an ensemble, and I’ve never been in a play like this before.”
“I hope we can provide a way into it all,” Lemieux wrote. “There are so many barriers that surround our ability to take in a play. To see what is happening. Not just to look, but to see. We’re really trying to create an event that is happening and unfolding in front of and with our audience.”
Cherry Orchard will undoubtedly be an exciting manifestation of the talent of the UD drama department and an edifying experience for all who attend.
Tickets on sale now at www.udallas.edu/drama. Performances run from April 4 – 14.