Tuesday May 31, 2011 / 8:00pm (Preview)The Cherry Orchard
How was your experience?
It is a fairly spacious theatre and well air-conditioned one. Set design was very pleasant and in style.So were the costumes. The production itself lives much to desired,to put it mildly. I have seen American classics staged in Raven and it was fine. European repertoire,however, requires very different skills that could not be acquired overnight. The frequently asked question: "Where are you from?" would not be out of place here. Because an implied sense of superiority was manifested on the stage as utter vulgarity. The manners, body language and proper articulation(orthology) of Europeans in general and Russians in particular,let alone aristocracy, are the subjects of a kind that can ill be spared. Also, what Chekhov calls comedy is by no means a buffoonery that we were confronted with. It is the great privilege to live in a democratic society with its tolerance,diversity and freedom. But these achievements should not been taken for granted since many a people paid for them with their lives. Hence, when the Chekhov's Russia is portrayed, one should not disregard class struggle,ethnic exclusivity and similar social and racial inequalities. One receives a definite impression that these problems are treated with levity in The Raven's production. We can see actors from different ethnic backgrounds inappropriately engaged in the historical context very dissimilar to that of ours. If that is tour de force in affirmative action they have done it a great disservice. These actors need not be treated with condescending and patronizing attitude. One should simply not reverse the history and mislead the audience. It is a bad education. All in all, it was a disjointed,boring and farcical performance of a superb classic drama. "Raven" should do well if it flew several miles south-west to the excellent Red Twist Theatre and see what miracles could be done in a far smaller space. Two of Raven's wonderful actors: Michael Pogue and Chuck Spenser already participated in The Red Twist with the great success. They must learn from their neighbor or elsewhere but learn they must!