A new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard will begin previews at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in Manhattan on June 7. The new play, The Orchard, will be performed live through July 3 and will also be viewable online.
Adapted, conceived and directed by Igor Golyak, who was born in Ukraine, the production will feature Jessica Hecht, who has appeared in Fiddler on the Roof and Breaking Bad, as Ranevskaya, and Mikhail Baryshnikov as both Chekhov and Firs.
In the in-person theater production, audiences will encounter what the production says will be “an immersive, dreamlike environment where perceptions, illusions, and reality collide as a family in crisis tries to process their uncertain future.” It notes “an international team of collaborators, spanning theater, gaming, film, robotics and emerging technologies” has been assembled to create the play’s world.
And it says virtual audiences will be able to “explore and discover magical rooms where they uncover echoes of a past life, now lost, including Chekhov’s letters, memories, and ultimately the play, live, in progress at the Baryshnikov Arts Center.”
According to the production, in-person and online performances will take place live and “concurrently . . Partway through the performances, the two versions intersect and the worlds (will) come together.”
Golyak said the play recounts “a story about the delicate relationships at the center of a family facing the end of the world as they know it. We are living through an unimaginable time of change and destruction with the war in Ukraine and with the pandemic. As humans, we are perpetually losing our cherry orchards, losing our worlds. This play is about us today.”