The Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University Theatre program proudly presents Maxim Gorky’s depiction of turn of the century Russia, Summer People. This homage to Anton Chekov, runs May 11-14, 2017 at Southern Oregon University’s Stevenson Union Arena.
Something of a de facto sequel to Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Summer People depicts the ordeals and aspirations of Russia’s new middle class, represented by several families vacationing in their summer homes. They play chess, meet for picnics, and entangle themselves in perilous romances, all while facing the unmistakable specter of change—a change some fear, some welcome, and none can avoid.
Summer People is written by Maxim Gorky, and the translation of the play is by Nicholas Sanders and Frank Dwyer. According to dramaturg Tamar Peterson, “Maxim Gorky (1868-1936), a Russian and Soviet writer, born under the name Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, got his start writing as a journalist, favoring the alias, “Gorky,” which means “the bitter one.” Gorky’s career breakthrough came when he published his first book, Essays and Stories, in 1898. He believed that literature should be a form of political commentary and protest. His best-known work, The Lower Depths, which debuted at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1902, depicts the plight of down-and-out Russians living in a shelter near the Volga River.”
Summer People is directed by James Edmondson, a long-time resident director and actor with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “We are particularly excited about the production of Summer People because it showcases the outstanding depth and skills of our student performers. It has been a rewarding experience to work with actors who demonstrate such dedication and discipline,” states Edmonson.