Anna Onderdonk, Staff Writer
The SUNY Oneonta student production of the Cherry Orchard had a successful run this past week. This production of Anton Chekov’s famous play was based on the English translation by Tom Stoppard.
The student performers did a great job of conveying the general despair over a family losing possession of their beloved cherry orchard, while at the same time delivering great comedic timing. The costume design was particularly impressive, provided by our Theatre Department’s own Marjean McCaslin-Doyle. Performances were held in the Hamblin Theater, which created a very intimate experience for audience members. The lighting was a sight to behold with the definite effect of being surrounded by an orchard (lighting design provided by John Bagby). Mary Cheung, arguably the crowd’s favorite, gave an entertaining performance as the ancient and senile manservant, Firs. Austin McCaslin-Doyle captured the vaudevillian irony of the story by playing Boris Borisovich Simeonov-Pishchik — a convincing drunken degenerate begging for loans. On the other end of the play’s spectrum, Aubrey Ellis gave a haunting performance as Madame Lyubov Andreievna Ranevskaya, complete with one extra bone-chilling scream.
The play’s mix of humor and grief was a hard balance to master, yet almost all of the players seemed to make a smooth transition from comedy to tragedy and back again under the direction of John McCaslin-Doyle. Overall it was certainly not a wasted evening (or afternoon for those who attended the Sunday matinee) to have seen this performance of The Cherry Orchard. The SUNY Oneonta Theatre Department has not failed to keep its patrons amused.