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The Cherry Orchard Festival Presents Boston's Arlekin Players Theatre With STATE VS. NATASHA BANINA
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The Cherry Orchard Festival Presents Boston's Arlekin Players Theatre With STATE VS. NATASHA BANINA

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The Cherry Orchard Festival presents Boston's Arlekin Players Theatre with State vs. Natasha Banina (, a newly-conceived live Zoom interactive theater art experiment , directed by Igor Golyak and featuring Arlekin company's leading actress and 2020 Elliot Norton Award winner (Outstanding Actress) Darya Denisova. Performances will take place on Sunday evenings: June 14, 21, and 28 at 8pm live on Zoom. State vs. Natasha Banina is based on a play by contemporary Russian playwright, Yaroslava Pulinovich's Natasha's Dream. For information or to reserve a Zoom spot, visit Each performance will also offer live post-show discussion.

All performances are FREE and Zoom registration is required. Suggested donations will support COVID-19 EMERGENCY RELIEF effort for THE ACTORS FUND.

"In response to the COVID-19 emergency, we had to cancel all live performances scheduled for June 2020 as part of the annual Cherry Orchard Festival, but we still wanted to do something unique for our audiences during these challenging times," said Maria Shclover, executive producer of the Cherry Orchard Festival.

"We developed a partnership with Boston's Arlekin Players Theatre, a small local theatre company that was recently recognized with ten nominations and four wins by the Boston Theater Critics Association at the 38th Annual Elliot Norton Awards," explained Irina Shabshis, artistic director of the Festival. "Arlekin's visionary director, Igor Golyak launched a new production in cyberspace that combines live acting, visual and sound effects, and recreates the community experience for the theatre goer. We decided to present this work to our audience."

State vs. Natasha Banina is set inside a zoom courtroom where the audience is the jury observing the young girl in confinement, telling her story directly to the camera lens. The play transforms its virtual audience into a jury tasked with deciding the fate of Natasha Banina, a 16-year-old orphan on trial for attempted manslaughter. Natasha makes her unique appeal to audiences as the jurors, letting them into her world, where she dreams about love, family, acceptance, adjusting and her future. Ultimately, the audience will decide her fate.

Golyak and Denisova each received 2020 Elliot Norton Awards from the Boston Theatre Critics Association for Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Actress, respectively. The two have been rehearsing State vs. Natasha Banina during quarantine.

"During these uncertain times, being artistic and creative are essential, and we are excited about this new theatrical experience," says Igor Golyak. "We are creating a new art form to overcome social distancing, the pandemic, and ultimately unite people in one virtual space by merging theater, cinematography, and video games."

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