On a frosty May morning while the cherry trees are in bloom, impoverished Russian aristocrat, Mrs. Ranevsky, returns to her decaying ancestral home with her daughter, Anya. Mrs. Ranevsky is heavily in debt and still grief-stricken by the premature death of her son five years earlier. Her financial crisis forces the family to auction off their estate, including their beloved cherry orchard. Varya, Mrs. Ranevsky’s older, adopted daughter, has been looking after the estate and is frustrated by her mother’s refusal to accept her predicament. Ignoring the practical advice of local businessman, Yermolay Lopakhin, the family cannot come to a consensus and take action, and the estate is eventually sold. Whilst the family sadly drink to the end of their home, Lopakhin reveals that it is he who has bought the estate. As the family prepare to leave, they hear their precious cherry orchard begin to be cut down. The play reflects the socioeconomic forces at work in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, including the rise of the middle class after the abolition of serfdom in the mid-19th century, and the declining status of the aristocracy.
The Cherry Orchard guide sections