Before Chekhov, his characters were latent in those of the comedies of Turguéniev and Ostrovski, little represented in Spain. Rediscovering the forgotten is an incentive. Going back on the well-known is a risk. How not to compare a new staging of The Cherry Orchard with other precedents? Does not this work speak precisely of the passage of time and the changes it operates?
At the beginning of this montage the tone with which it is spoken is disconcerting, close to that of the sitcom, especially marked in the very young Ania interpreter. It is also unclear why Ernesto Caballero chose an actress in the prime of her life to realistically portray the almost nonagenarian servant Firs, whose helplessness played out in the performance of veteran Richard Easton at the Teatro Español, directed by Sam Mendes. Nor why it is hardly taken out of the spinning stage. Why is it that when any Russian character has to sing something in a production produced in Spain he always hums Kalinka?
Caballero brings his staging to the present. Trofimov, eternal student, looks like a 15-M activist. Duniasha, the maid, has a Caribbean accent, and Lopajin, mujik enriched, moves like an Indian back to his homeland, options that fit poorly with their proper names, the Slavic setting, the allusions to Moscow and Kharkiv and the small number of immigrants from Hispanic America living in the Russian Federation.
The show goes on between the end of the 19th century and the debut of the 21st, between both ends of Europe and dotted with quotations (the rain of leaves of The Cherry Orchard from Strehler; the crystal chandeliers of the Otomar Krejca, a separate as those that were made in the Pasqual with the Lliure), when the third owner of the cherry, and his speech, interpreted formidably by Nelson Dante, takes the floor in the third act, elevate the assembly and place it in its place. The silence of the public can be cut when the Argentine actor is silent. It is never too late: the fourth act is suggestive and leads to a beautiful end.
The cherry tree garden. Text: Anton Chekhov Direction: Ernesto Caballero Valle-Inclán Theater. Madrid. Until March 31st.