Baryshnikov Arts Center and Cherry Orchard Festival Foundation co-present The Cherry Orchard: A New Media Workshop, debuting online February 26 at 8 PM ET as part of Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Digital Spring 2021 Season.
Adapted from Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and created by Boston’s Arlekin Players Theatre and their Zero Gravity Virtual Performance Lab, the presentation features Tony nominee Jessica Hecht (A View From the Bridge) as Ranevskaya, Anna Baryshnikov (Dickinson) as Varya, Darya Denisova as Tramp, Jeffrey Hayenga (The Elephant Man) as Fiers, Melanie Moore (Finding Neverland) as Anya, Mark Nelson (Angels in America) as Gaev, and Nael Nacer as Lopakhin. BAC Founder and Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikov makes an appearance in the role of Anton Chekhov.
Arlekin Players Theatre Founder and Director Igor Golyak’s latest work fuses film, theatre, and video game technology to create a new medium where viewers are able to interact with the performers. Drawing from scenes from the play and recordings of Chekhov’s letters and dreams, the online event accesses Chekhov’s desktop computer, where viewers discover six of his classic characters living in a virtual space, searching for happiness.
“The post-pandemic theatre has to reexamine and re-imagine itself. Through this experiment we are finding out how humankind can find each other in the virtual while continuing to treasure the in-person encounter, which makes for a new kind of site-specific theatre," said Golyak in a recent statement. “And I find myself in constant dialogue with The Cherry Orchard—during a time of loss and recovery, it helps us explore connection, transition, loss, and the human yearning for happiness.”
The creative team also includes virtual performance technical director Vladimir Gusev, game engine and interaction designer Will Brierly of Snowrunner Productions, live production technicians Anton Nikolaev and Igor Golyak, virtual set and environment designer Anna Fedorova, web developer Anatoly Krivonos, composer Jakov Jakoulov, assistant director Blair Cadden, properties assistant Irina Vilenchik, director of photography Guillermo Cameo, associate producer Joshua A. Friedman, second camera and editor Anton Nikolaev, sound designer Sebastian Holst, gaffer Sashank Sana, assistant editor Anna Gruman, and production assistant Violet de Besche.
The work was developed and filmed, in part, at BAC in January with adherence to COVID health and safety protocols.
Registration for the free event is required at BACNYC.org.
(Updated February 26, 2021)