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California State University Fullerton Presents THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Opening This Week

Cal State Fullerton's Spring semester begins with "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov, translated by Paul Schmidt and directed by Maria Cominis. The play runs from March 8-24, 2019 in the Young Theatre on campus. "The Cherry Orchard" follows a destitute Russian aristocrat who returns home to find her family in a financial crisis, forcing them to sell their home to pay off their debt. The family must decide on their prospects for happiness and how to rebuild their lives and fortunes.

Anton Chekhov was born on January 29, 1860, in Taganrog, Russia. Early in his life, he began to publish serious works of fiction, including "The Steppe," which earned him the Pushkin Prize in 1888. With his plays such as The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, and The Cherry Orchard, the prolific writer emphasized the depths of human nature, the hidden significance of everyday events and the fine line between comedy and tragedy. His plays are staged worldwide and his body of work influenced important writers of an array of genres, including James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams.

Translator Paul Schmidt received a degree from Colgate University in Russian studies in 1955 and after a year of graduate work at Harvard, he moved to Paris where he studied mime with Marcel Marceau and acting with Jacques Charon of the Comédie Française. Following his time in academia, he worked with numerous New York theatre companies translating Euripides, Chekhov and Brecht, and wrote three plays of his own, winning the Helen Hayes and Kesselring awards for best play for "Black Sea Follies." "The Plays of Anton Chekhov," Schmidt's translation of twelve of Chekhov's plays, was published in 1997. From 1993 until the end of his life in 1997, he taught translation and dramaturgy at the Yale School of Drama.

After receiving an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, Director Maria Cominis made her way to New York where she lived for ten years doing theatre and television. She taught acting at Herbert Berghof Studio under the tutelage of Uta Hagen and taught at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and Weist Barron Television/Film School in NYC. In Southern California, she has taught at USC School of Cinema and Television, Vanguard University, and California State University, Long Beach and has been on the California State University, Fullerton faculty since 2005. As an actor, Maria Cominis was in Fox TV's "New Girl" and ABC's "Desperate Housewives and she continues to do theatre locally and in Los Angeles. The second edition of her book "Rehearsing in The Zone, A Practical Guide to Rehearsing Without a Director," Kendall Hunt Publishing is currently being used across the country.

The cast of "The Cherry Orchard" includes Isobel Beaman, Kathleen Chavez, Caleb Gibson, Bernard Hefner, Aryana Hamzehloo, Genevieve Kauper, Sarika Mande, Diego Noll, Joseph Pharr, Tamla Quipse, Kyle Nathan Ray, Donovan Rogers, Darby Sorich, Miguel Torres, Leo Torrez, Leianna Weaver, and Blake Yanez.

Set design is by Ann Sheffield, costume design is by Hyun Sook Kim, hair/makeup design is by Monica Liz Siazon, lighting design is by Toranj Noroozi, and sound design is by Michelle Tharp.

"The Cherry Orchard" plays at 8pm on March 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 and at 2pm on March 10, 16, 17, 23, 24. General admission tickets are $14 ($12 with advance Titan Discount purchase for students, seniors or with a CSUF ID). All tickets are $14 at the door. Tickets are available by calling (657) 278-3371, 11am-5pm, Monday through Friday or online at:

Following "The Cherry Orchard," the spring season continues with an adaptation of a classic Greek Comedy. "Lysistrata" tells the story of the legendary Athenian, Lysistrata, who calls upon the women of Greece to help put an end to the Peloponnesian War. In order to do so, all women must refuse to have sex with their husbands until they agree to peace in Greece. "Lysistrata," inspired by Aristophanes and adapted by Ellen McLaughlin, is directed by Rufus Bonds Jr., and runs from April 12-May 5, 2019 in the Hallberg Theatre on campus.

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