STRANGE FRUIT is Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard transposed to America’s Deep South. A reimagining of Chekhov’s masterpiece in Post-Civil War Georgia.

Synopsis


America’s slaves were freed within two years of the emancipation of serfs in Russia. Strange Fruit reimagines Chekhov’s masterpiece in Post-Civil War Georgia. A generation of former planters and slaves spends a summer speculating on the future of the family plantation – and the shadow it has cast on them all.
 
The setting is a Plantation House, near Macon, Georgia. The year is 1876, a decade on from the American Civil War, the final year of the Reconstruction Period and the Northern Army’s occupation of the ‘Confederate States’. The years to come will bring a murderous backlash against Blacks and establish the institutional racism of the Jim Crow South, hence the homage to Abel Meeropol’s chilling poem in our title, Strange Fruit.
 
As the play opens, Georgia is recovering from economic ruin through the expansion of the railroad, the efforts of a new entrepreneurial class and a burgeoning tourist industry. The links with Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard are so strong that this version mirrors closely his characters, plot line and – as the man himself would want emphasised – sense of humour.

Playwright’s Note

The Cherry Orchard premiered in 1904, the year Russia suffered a devastating military defeat to Japan, another fateful step towards the collapse of the Romanov dynasty and revolution from below. We have in England perhaps become too enamoured of the bittersweet melancholy we associate with the ‘Chekhovian’ style to appreciate just how violent and traumatic are the forces at work in the playwright’s final great drama. The company of the first production found that transposing the play from rural Russia to the cotton fields of Dixie heightened our awareness of just how much serfdom (human bondage) informs the characters’ relationships with each other, the family estate and the land itself.

Production History

American Theatre Arts, Lamorbey House, Rose Bruford College, April 2015

(multi-audience / multi-cast, site-specific production)

CAST
DESIREE RANDOLPH-KENDRICK, Shannon Mulvey / Rebecca Dale
WHITMAN RANDOLPH, John Kuzminski / Magnus Kayser
ANNALISE KENDRICK, Scarlett O’Reilly / Grace Russell
VERITY RANDOLPH, Hana Ghassli-Sbai / Jazmine Wilkinson
HERMES LOEWELL, Parys Jordon-Sango / Joshua Burton-Richards
BEVERLEY PEARSON, Jamie Pew / Emily Spindler
PETER TREVELYN, Michael Powell / Matt Brackstone
CHARLOTTE, Jessica Stamp / Ellamae Cieslik
CLANCEY TRIMBLE, Dushane Casteallo / Sean Fanin
SUSANNAH MUTTON, MJ Ashton / Georgia James
SIMON UNDERFOOT, Matthew Kelly / Sam Smith
FERRIS, Sharon Ogo-Uzodike
THE VETERAN, Elias Adojutelegan
PARTY GUESTS, The Company

PRODUCTION TEAM
Director, Steven Dykes
Assistant Directors, Dana Blackstone & Nicole Adduci
Designer, Katie Marie Holmes
Lighting Design, Lizzy Gunby
Sound Designer, Miles Henry

Gallery


American Theatre Arts, Lamorbey House, Rose Buford College, April 2015

Comments

Strange Fruit

  • Categories: Cast size 8 or more / Period / Set in the US
  • Cast: 6 women, 6 men & 3 smaller roles
  • Setting: Georgia USA, 1876
  • Running Time: 2hrs 45 mins
  • Characters:
  • Scripts:
  • Performance Rights: Performance Rights: Rights Currently Available.
    Non-exclusive Student/Amateur/Unwaged Professional:
    £60/$100 per performance.
    Territory Exclusive Waged Professional:
    Royalty on application.
    N.B. All licences require one purchase of the authorised rehearsal script.

    Apply for a Performance Licence

Related Plays