Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Cherry Orchard at Fenwick Theatre

Saturday night I got culture of a whole different kind by going to see live college theatre. And not just any college theatre, but MY college theatre. I studied theatre at Holy Cross, and while I don't see every show now, I do try to check out the ones directed by Steve Vineberg, who was my college advisor and one of the few Canadians I like. Boston area readers, Steve sometimes writes film articles for the Boston Pheonix, so the name might be familiar.

My group of theatre college friends and I first went out to eat at a restaurant I had never been to on Shrewsbury St, as it opened after I had graduated, called Via. AMAZING Italian food. I got gnocchi with lobster meat, and I could have had five more bowls of it. I also had a damn tasty raspberry mojito. We're clearly warming up if I'm ordering mojitos again.

I also want to mention to my HC readers that construction seems to be at an all-time low on 290. Ever since I went to visit this college as a pre-freshman they have been revamping highway 290. So every time to drive on it it's either a mess of construction vehicles or lanes have been shifted or what have you. The last two times I was in Worcester (February and March) have been surprisingly pleasant driving-wise, because 290 seems mostly done with being worked on. It only took... what, 9 year? I'm heading back in April for Emily's Fenwick production, so I'm hoping to go for the driving hat trick.

Steve knows his Russians well, having directed me in The Seagull in 2005 and various other Chekhovs in his time at Holy Cross, and this proved to be no different. A very good, but very sad, production, as all Chekhov plays are. They're called "comedies" and there are light parts to each production, but at the end of the show you feel like someone has ripped out your heart and stepped on it a few times. Then again, Russia wasn't the happiest of times during this period, either.

The Cherry Orchard chronicles an aging family, one of the last clinging to aristocracy, losing their family home/estate for generations, and their spreading through Europe as a result. These characters are being pushed out my modernity and the newly forming middle class. Rank means nothing in this new world, something they cannot grasp, as former paupers who have built themselves up now have the power and control.

Good set, good acting, and always good to see the faculty. One odd moment was when I walked into the theatre, and the usher asked if I needed help getting to my seat. Oh please, usher, I've spent more time in this room than you'll ever know. Pshaw. Also odd to see the changes happening on campus, like renaming buildings and new streets and buildings. I sometimes freeze HC in time to when I was there, so in my world, these changes are odd.

But all in all, a very pleasant evening, and great to get some culture and see old friends.

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