About the Production
The project arose as a response to the new situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the inability of the theater to work in the same conditions as before. Since communication takes place entirely on the Internet, there is a need to explore new possibilities for performing and creating plays, and doesn’t refer to the mere reproduction of already recorded plays from theater archives, which are usually not recorded with the idea of being shown to the audience.
The online performance is based on the play The Cherry Orchard by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. Focus is on the key characters of the play, the orchard owners who are no longer able to manage the property its inevitable decay and sale, and their unavoidable conversations on how to save it. The performance explores the form of conference conversation, in which the main characters never meet live. Fate of their cherry orchard, and even their future, takes place on a virtual level. Due to the limitations of the conference call, the characters are literally deprived of action. More simply, they are “not” physically in the orchard, and the orchard is being sold.
This performance in a virtual, digital space is a kind of pioneering experiment in using theatrical form and rules, and their mixing with the film genre and its form, as well as the limitations of the software used.
BOBO JELČIĆ has graduated in theatre direction from the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb, where he is currently employed as a teacher of acting. He has worked in all the major theatres in Croatia: The Other Side, The Seagull, The Store Window (Zagreb Youth Theatre), Allons Enfants (Dubrovnik Summer Festival); Tihi obrt / Silent Turnaround (ADU - Academy of Dramatic Arts); Ko rukom odneseno / Swept by Hand (Culture of Change); Na kraju tjedna / At the End of the Week (CNT, Zagreb); Govori glasnije / Speak Louder (Kerempuh Theatre). Jelčić has also directed in theatres in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Croatian National Theatre in Mostar. Since 1995, he has often worked together with Nataša Rajković, applying new working methods with actors, who over the course of these processes become co-authors. That approach has resulted in several performances, including The Store Window (2010), performed also at Bitef in 2011. His directorial debut in Serbia, in Yugoslav Drama Theatre, the performance Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? was performed at Bitef 53. He is also a film director, and his filmography includes All That You Know About Me, A Stranger, and Transmania. He has received numerous awards for his work.
From the Reviews
"To coordinate and direct such a seemingly simply project in real time must have been technically demanding, since it would be enough for the Internet connection to snap ones and the entire performance would fall apart or turn into something significantly different. But that is why this experiment is so magical and so courageous; an experiment which will be remembered as one of the more exciting moments in this point of time where everything but creativeness got blocked."
Milena Zajović, vecernji.hr
"The actors are not in the cherry orchard, that is in a scene of the Cherry Orchard, but the meaning of the cherry orchard is multifaceted. If we do not take part in the decisions that are made by the officials, politicians, statesmen, we live in a fictional cherry orchard, regardless whether it is related to the state, society, the world, or our increasingly vulnerable personalities and identities.
The destiny of the cherry orchard becomes destiny of each of us who cannot take the destiny of the world in our own hands. Cherry Orchard is a symbol, and allegory and life flow in four acts, or rather four seasons. To people linked to theatre, it is also a symbol of theatre and theatre art."
Mira Muhoberac, Matica hrvatska
"The story can be easily seen as a verdict to the analogue age, Lyubov Andreeva and Gayev being dinosaurs reluctant to log into social networks, and who see Zoom and other online platforms as a form of alienation. Adapt or die, the drama got intensified through the pandemic."
Snježana Pavić (journalist of Jutarnji list, Zagreb), https://volimkazaliste.wordpress.com