In what theater space was the play "The Cherry Orchard" produced?

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hi1954 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anton Chekhov's last play The Cherry Orchard was first performed on 30 January, 1904 at the Moscow Art Theatre, directed by Konstantin Staninslovsky(In the "Old Style" Russian calendar the date would have been 17 Jan.).  The theatre itself had been founded in 1897 by Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko.  The theatre, troupe and Chekhov's plays were all intended as a reaction against the highly stylized theatre of the day, and were intended to be presented in a realistic, non-exaggerated style of sets, props and acting.  Since the cooperative theatre group was semi-amateur to start with (rehearsals were held in a barn) the naturalistic costuming and setting of the plays was a natural outgrowth of their situation.  Stanislavsky and many of the actors were in fact amateurs at the beginning; Nemirovitch-Danchenko was already a famous playwright.  Chekhov's plays made the reputation of the MAT.  Sets were simple and realistic, a result partly of decision and partly from the lack of funds.  Rich amateur theatre players and fans aided them.  Eventually the realistic and naturalistic style gave way to symbolism, but in 1904 the naturalistic method was still uppermost at MAT.

The audience would have been largely made up of the standard theatre-going crowd, in other words the well-to-do who could afford such entertainments, both the bourgeoisie and the upper classes.  Less affluent people were also attracted to Chekhov's works, but the typical audience would have been the middle and upper classes.  Sets would have attempted to portray the setting in a natural and non-theatrical manner, sometimes with the semblance of a fourth wall across part of the stage in interior scenes.

MAT was also known as "the Sea Gull Theatre" because Chekhov's play of that name is what placed them on sound financial ground.