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Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

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OVST to premiere local translation of Chekhov's 'The Cherry Orchard'


The Ohio Valley Summer Theater (OVST) has undergone rehearsals for its season opener, The Cherry Orchard as by Anton Chekhov as translated by local theater artist Lyrr Descy, who is directing and acting in the play.

Chekhov's comedy, which saw its first production just months before he died in 1904, concerns a household of lovable Russian eccentrics in financial difficulties. Some characters try to hold on to the past, some are anxious to move on to a new life, while the pragmatists make the most of opportunities as they arise.

Why a new translation?

"It's always good to look at the play with a new set of eyes. I wanted to have something that was concise like the original Russian (some versions are too wordy), but without being too colloquial in a contemporary sense. It's spoken language, not literary language. I've brought to this process my long experience as a translator, but also as an actor and director, making sure that characters are not talking at cross purposes (subtext) – that every line comes from some inner impulse and is not just the next line on the page. I really tried to get under their skins and see everything in context," says Descy.

Lyrr Descy's theatrical background spans three continents. She has a BA honors in Speech & Drama from Rhodes University in South Africa and an MA in Theatre from Arizona State University. Lyrr studied classical acting at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She was artistic director of the Arizona Shakespeare Festival. She has received, in South Africa, a best actress award for Shakespeare's Juliet and best supporting performance award for Celia in "As You Like It" and Andromache in "The Trojan Women."

While living in Brussels, she earned awards for her productions of Harold Pinter's "The Dumbwaiter" and Edna St Vincent Millay's "Aria Da Capo" at the annual Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies. Lyrr was nominated for an AriZoni best actress award in Athol Fugard's "A Lesson from Aloes"; won a Greater Phoenix Theater Critics Circle award for directing Fugard's "Blood Knot" and "The Brothers Grim," and an AriZoni award for her direction of "Much Ado About Nothing." She made her Athens debut playing Winnie in Samuel Beckett's "Happy Days" at ARTS/West last October and is delighted to have made Athens her home.

"The Cherry Orchard" will open June 21 and close July 1 at The Forum Theater in Athens. Tickets will be sold for $12. Patrons can find more information on show dates and times and purchase tickets by visiting www.ovst.org or by calling the OVST ticket office in Kantner Hall at 740-593-9696. OVST's season will continue with the musical "Ragtime" which runs July 12-29.