Culture Watch: NT Live's broadcast of 'The Cherry Orchard'
Downtown Independent, Mann Chinese 6 and other theaters worldwide
Zoё Wanamaker stars as Ranyevskaya in the National Theatre production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” and it will be fascinating to see how this robust actress will handle a temperament that is impulsive, distracted, warm, sentimental and decidedly unbusiness-like.
Wanamaker, who a few years back made a spectacularly bulldozing Electra in Sophocles' tragedy on Broadway and an unusually biting Beatrice in the National Theatre's revival of “Much Ado About Nothing,” is no pushover, so it’s hard to imagine her mooning over the possible loss of her character’s family estate with a luxuriant helplessness. More likely, she will illuminate that often unrecognized quality of toughness Chekhov once pointed out to his wife, the actress Olga Knipper, who originated the role at the Moscow Art Theatre. “Nothing but death could subdue a woman like that,” the playwright somewhat counterintuitively observed.
I happen to be in London and will be writing about the production along with other highlights of my theatergoing. But Southern California theater lovers will have the opportunity to catch a screening on Thursday at participating venues and form their own opinion. For a full schedule of this NT Live broadcast, visit www.ntlive.com.
-- Charles McNulty
Photo: Zoё Wanamaker. Credit: Catherine Ashmore