Far Away in the Orchard: Adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at the bemisUNDERGROUND
Posted on 06/04/2005
A pile of dirt, a pie-eating punk, a devoted television-watcher and a lecturer on auto-pilot come together as the visual stimuli in Far Away in the Orchard, Douglas Hayko’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard presented at the bemisUNDERGROUND, from July 15 – August 6, 2005. With a distant migration from Chekhov’s early 20th-century realist play about social mobility and change, Hayko transforms the text into a minimalist treatment. Themes range from rampant consumerism to academic authoritarianism to the relinquishment of the individual opinion-making process, and Hayko places simple visual and auditory layers against one another to form a complex statement about the theatrical arts and the generational gaps that exist in processing it. Performances will take place on Friday and Saturday evenings July 15, 2005 through August 6, 2005 at 9:30pm. The gallery will reopen on performance nights at 9:00pm to allow for seating. An after-show soirée will follow each performance, with donations accepted in support of the bemisUNDERGROUND. The performance art piece has a running time of approximately 60 minutes. Regular gallery hours of the Far Away in the Orchard post-performance aftermath will be open for viewing Saturdays from 11:00am to 6:00pm July 16, 2005 through August 6, 2005. The cast includes live performances from Mary Kelly, Noah Diaz, Sean Carlson, Andrew Keffer, Craig Martin, Vincent Carlson and Douglas Hayko, with supporting pre-recorded voice talents of Kevin Bensley, Sonia Keffer and Victoria Boylan.
With the Russian stage direction from Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard as a base, layers of the translated text, critical text written by Hayko as well as text from critic John Tulloch’s book Chekhov, A Structuralist Study, and contemporary visual references present a dilemma for the audience in terms of auditory and visual focus. Each viewer takes away something different based on the grasp of that focus and their ability to discern individual subliminal and direct elements of the piece. Hayko, who lives and works in Omaha, considers himself an emerging artist, finding interest in pop-culture iconography and its polarizing impact on the viewer. On discussing his most recent project, Hayko states, “I’m interested in how individual audiences choose to handle events, as well as events within events, that require each to pull from what they traditionally think of when they experience a performance, allowing them to then find areas of visual or auditory comfort in what they have to work with. It’s not unlike what we do daily walking down the street or going to the grocery store. We are inundated with various sounds and sights that ask for our attention. When presented with an overwhelming number of choices, we each react in very unique ways that are rooted in our respective histories.” To this end, Hayko examines parallels between the natural, the artistic, and the contrived, allowing the viewer to wade through the complications at a pace all their own.
The Bemis Underground:
Located on the lower level of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
724 S. 12th Street
Omaha, NE 68102