Brave New World presents Immersive THE CHERRY ORCHARD, 8/31-9/24
Brave New World Repertory Theatre (BNW) presents The Plantation, the bold new adaptation of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard set in 1870 Virginia after the emancipation of the slaves but before the onset of Jim Crow.
The immersive production is set inside the Commanding Officers House on Governors Island. After attracting a SRO crowd for the staged reading in 2015, the company returned in 2016 for a 4-performance world premiere, and now by popular demand returns August 31-September 24 for 4 weekends and 10 performances with 70% free seating on a first come-first served basis at each performance (details below).
The Plantation examines themes of race and class by replacing freed serfs and newly impoverished aristocrats of the Russian classic, with the Confederacy's emancipated slaves and bankrupted Southern gentry in the period after the Civil War. The Cherry Orchard estate must be auctioned to pay the mortgage, and is sold to a former serf who represents the future. As re-imagined in The Plantation, this future belongs to a freedman, casting African American actors in the roles of freed servants in this new America. Set in 1870, the year African American freedmen got the vote and eight years before the Jim Crow system of racial apartheid came to dominate the American South, "Chekhov's original story has universal relevance," says adapter/director Claire Beckman, co-founder of Brave New World Rep. "The Plantation explores the root causes of America's most pressing social issue with both humor and heart, while telling a story about Race in America. The Plantation is our effort to return to the genesis of the conversation; the neglected and misunderstood period known as Reconstruction."
BNW's previous productions caught the attention of Governors Island Trust visionary Leslie Koch, who reached out to Beckman through Council Member and BNW supporter David Yassky. Beckman also directed the BNW's seminal, 2005 site-specific production To Kill a Mockingbird staged on the front porches of a tree-lined street in Victorian Flatbush, and other acclaimed productions such as The Tempest on the Coney Island beach and boardwalk in 2009, a lantern lit production of The Crucible at The Old Stone House in 2010 (New York Magazine's Critics Pick) and Street Scene on the stoop of a Park Slope walk-up (named one of 25 best 2013 shows by L Magazine).
Beckman was first motivated to tell the story of The Plantation in 2015 to coincide with the150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, but as the current political tide has turned, it has taken on an even greater significance.
THE PLANTATION A new adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard set in Virginia, 1870 Produced, Adapted and Directed by Claire Beckman
Thursday, August 31 (preview) Friday, September 1 (opening) Saturday, September 2 Sunday, September 3 Saturday, September 9 Sunday, September10 Friday, September 15 Sunday, September 17 Saturday, September 23 Sunday, September 24
ALL PERFORMANCES at 1:30pm A limited number of FREE tickets at each performance in the NOLAN PARK section of GOVERNORS ISLAND at The Commanding Officers House FREE Ferries depart from Manhattan and Brooklyn before 11:30am Ferry Info: here More info and guaranteed reservations at bravenewworldrep.org
Production Manager/Production Stage Manager: Emely Zepeda* Associate Producer/Assistant Director Annie Rose Kafer Costume Design: Lisa Renee Jordan Sound: Steve Gridley Music: Roy Eaton and Hui Cox Featuring: Issa Best, William Brenner*, Hui Cox, Tyler Egan, Ann Flanigan, Arthur French*, Craig Grant, Lauren Harkins, Alice Kors, Damond McFarland, Alice Barrett-Mitchell*, John Edmond Morgan*, Caroline Ryburn*, Kayla Thomas, Nathalie Thomas, Dannie Toussaint and Perri Yaniv*
*denotes members of Actors Equity Association