Childhood homes bring back so many memories: some good, some bad, some magical, some nightmarish.
Sahara BreeZe (SBZ) Productions are delighted to premiere this visually stunning new adaptation of The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov at the Mayfair Theatre 16-25 Nov 2023.
Written by Anton Chekhov in 1903, the first production of The Cherry Orchard was famously directed as a tragedy even though the writer, Chekhov, intended it to be played as a comedy. Regarded as a theatrical masterpiece, it is as relevant today as it was in the past.
In this story, the Ranevsky family live on an old estate with a wonderful cherry orchard. Despite being in economic crisis, they are unable to change their expensive lifestyle to pay the mortgage on their estate, so it has to be auctioned off. Still not all is lost as they have a way out: to cut down the cherry orchard and subdivide the land for holiday houses. But their family home and orchard hold so many magical memories.
This production is the premiere of a new adaptation directed and adapted by Dunedin-based theatre maker Blaise Barham, who brings this Russian play into a more modern New Zealand context. It is adapted from a translation by Stuart Young and includes original music by AJ Hickling. This version focusses on themes of how we deal with loss, adapt to an everchanging world, and struggle between how to live on, and yet not destroy, our beautiful planet.
This adaptation also uses a blend of traditional, musical, and physical theatre, as well as French and Russian clowning. Barham draws on skills learnt from master clown Philippe Gaulier during a recent training season in Paris, as well as aerial circus, to highlight the spectacle and comedy of the piece. This production is a continuation of experimenting with mixing genres as seen in The Bear at Mayfair Theatre (22-24 March2023). This incorporated stylized performance, aerial straps and silks. https://www.theatreview.org.nz/production/the-bear-2/
This production is supported by the Dunedin City Council professional theatre fund.
This Chekhov adaptation includes an ensemble cast of 12 actors. In order of appearance:
Matushka Zemlya - Clare LewisYermolay Lopakhin - Cheyne JenkinsonDunyasha - Sofie WelvaertSemyon Yepikhodov - Daniel McClymontPishchik & Firs - Brent CaldwellAnya - Becky HodsonLyubov Ranevskaya - Sarah BarhamVarya - Aimee FreemanLeonid Gayev - Matthew BrennanSharlotta Ivanovna - Imogen DuncanYasha - Conor HillPetya Trofimov - Josh Black
Director - Blaise BarhamOriginal Music - AJ HicklingProduction Manager - Linda BrewsterStage Manager (SM) - Christine WilsonAssistant SM - Lydia O’CallaghanLighting Design & Op - Tabitha LittlejohnSound Design - Josh Wiegman
Sound Operator - Abby FernandesAudio Visual Design - Elizabeth AudasSet Design - Peter KingSet Construction - Conor HillAerial Circus - Rochelle BrophyHair & Make-Up Design - Jen Matiu
Sahara BreeZe (SBZ) Productions https://www.sbzproductions.com/ was founded in 2019 as a touring theatre company and has been based in Dunedin since 2021. It has produced multiple shows in Dunedin such as Two by Jim Cartwright, Dracula the Bloody Truth by La Navette Bete, Wonderful by Richard Huber (Winner of a UNESCO Literature Award), Out at Sea by Slawomir Mrozek (Winner of a NZ Touring Award), The John Show by John Goudge, Shotglass Shorts Play Writing Competition, and The Bear by Anton Chekhov.
Sahara BreeZe Productions