Simon McBurney Directs THE CHERRY ORCHARD With ITA
Multi-talented Englishman Simon McBurney will be directing the classic The Cherry Orchard at Internationaal Theater Amsterdam this season in co-production with the Holland Festival. For his first collaboration with the ITA ensemble, McBurney has chosen one of Anton Chekhov's most famous and beloved pieces. The performance with among others Chris Nietvelt, Gijs Scholten van Aschat and Robert de Hoog - will have its premiere on Sunday 16 June at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam.
This is the first time the celebrated English director and actor Simon McBurney will be directing the ITA ensemble. 'When Ivo approached me, I thought it would be a great opportunity to direct this Chekhov. Because Internationaal Theater Amsterdam is a true ensemble, and I feel that Chekhov's pieces call for an ensemble': says McBurney. 'I love the tragicomic sensitivity of this piece, which is not only very Chekhov, you can find it across the board in Russian literature. I know The Cherry Orchard on its own as a text, but I have never seen a convincing production in theatre.'
In 1983, McBurney was one of the founders of the Th tre de Complicit , later renamed Complicite. With this collective he developed a theatre language that is strongly characterised by the use of new technology with a philosophical approach. He sees theatre as a concentrated form of experience: Therefore it somehow continues to operate on you the further away you get from it. It continues to infect you. In addition to adaptations of texts, he also stages pieces from the classical repertoire. In New York he directed Al Pacino in Arturo Ui by Brecht.
For many years, McBurney has been a welcome guest at the major international festivals including, among others, Avignon and Edinburgh. In 2010, the audience of the Holland Festival chose his The Master and Margarita as the best production. In 2018 he staged The Rake's Progress by Stravinsky at the Dutch National Opera and Ballet. The same year a reprise of his direction of Die Zauber te was performed.
The Cherry Orchard
Chekhov's final play portrays the painful demise of impoverished landowners who are forced to sell their land and their beloved cherry orchard. The detailed portrait of people living in futile yearning for something that no longer exists, has made The Cherry Orchard one of the most beloved plays of the global repertoire.
McBurney is known for his experimental approach. About his direction of The Cherry Orchard, he says: 'Of course there will be an experimental side, but what interests me is not to overplay Chekhov, but to investigate exactly what he meant. One of the things that concerns me these days is the trend of looking back with nostalgia. I want to investigate what its function is and how we might avoid it. The Cherry Orchard is ideally suited for that. There is an extraordinary humanity at the heart of this text. I want to make that palpable, in a way that I hope will be immediately recognisable. And there is the feeling of a looming disaster, which I think the audience will certainly have no trouble recognising.'