LOS ANGELES -- It may be called "The Cherry Orchard ," but Theresa Larkin's version for The Artists Collective in L.A. more closely resembles a citrus grove. Anton Chekhov's classic bittersweet comedy opened at the Gascon Theatre Center Jan. 16 and ends its run Feb. 15.
Larkin has set the play in Napa Valley, 2004, where, as a company spokesperson said, "technology and the information age threaten old-world wine country aristocracy."
"I believe that Chekhov caught a glimpse of the impending chaos of Russia's future just before he died," said Larkin, who commissioned scholar George Gutsche to write a new translation of The Cherry Orchard . "There is always talk of Chekhov's 'relevance,' and it seems to me that today, especially, this play is more than relevant, it is almost prophetic; here is a vision of our potential future as we venture nearer and nearer to the next century, the next millenium."
Larkin sees the mounting problems of environment, immigration, race and economics as being magnified by the hi-tech automation and artificial intelligence of the newly-wealthy neighboring Silicon Valley. "The disconnection of the people to the land greatly speaks to our universal emotional climate--today we don't nurture or cultivate ourselves as human beings, and all too often forget that we're connected to each other and the land," she said.
Starring in the show are Sally Savalas, widow of actor Telly Savalas, alongside Kevin Skousen, Stuart Bird, Ed Matz, Ken Paul Gould and Monty Ash. The Gascon Theatre Center is at 8737 Washington Blvd. in Culver City. Call Showtixx (888) 566-8499.