The Cherry Orchard

by Anton Chekhov

Version by Jean-Claude Van Itallie

Act I: Anya

Read by: Emma Rye

You don’t know what I had to go through… Easter week was so cold. And Charlotta never stopped talking. During the whole trip she was always performing tricks. Why did I have to have Charlotta?… It was snowing in Paris, and cold. My French is abominable. Mama lives on a fifth floor. I walk up. The room is full of tobacco smoke, French people, and an old priest with his prayer books. Such a sad atmosphere. When I see Mama, I feel so sorry for her. I kiss her, hold her head in my hands. Then I hold her hands. I can’t let go. She holds me, kissesĀ  me, and cries… She’d already sold her villa near Menton. She has no money left, nothing. And I didn’t either. Not a kopeck. We had hardly enough to come home. And Mama doesn’t realize. In all the station restaurants she orders what’s most expensive, and tips each waiter a ruble. Charlotta does the same. And so does Yasha. He demands whole dinners for himself. It’s dreadful. It is. You know, Yasha is Mama’s butler now? She brought him home with us.