The Cherry Orchard lays bare, in elegiac tones, the passing of the old, entrenched aristocratic order and the emergence of the new at the expense of the old.
One of the strengths of this piece of thoughtful social melodrama is that, by the end, any credibility stretched by the child-mob scenario is less important than the way we are moved to analyse our own response to one manifestation of historic institutionalised British child abuse.
Lucca, Italy, was the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini in 1858 in an apartment that is now a museum to the last and most famous of generations of Puccini maestros, restored to its Second Empire glory, down to a bed, surrounded by columns, that replicates the one in which Puccini was born.
Just as Keats’ elliptic “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” is comprehensible in context, the meaning of Che Walker’s “Time is Love/Tiempo es Amor” is made apparent by this superbly acted and eloquent 90 minutes of drama.
Tolstoy’s great, complex, genre-busting sprawl “War and Peace” is about many things, including Russian nationalism to the extent that when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Stalin reached for the work to promote a patriotic defence of the Motherland.
Under Stewart Laing’s inspired direction, four permanently-glowing screens help to convey the bigoted characters of a charmless northern French village, where violence, shame, pride, racism and homophobia form the fabric of society.
In our blasé age, we may take for granted that a remote Yorkshire parsonage managed to produce three sisters who defied rigid Victorian convention to give voice to raw passions and sexual frustration no respectable woman was meant to feel.