THE CHERRY ORCHARD
F R I D A Y, 3 N O V
Mummy’s so thrilled because Mrs Ewing – who she sat next to at the Women of the Year Lunch – has won the bi-election at Hamilton, and the Scottish Nationalists are in!
Anya and me had cross-country trotting again. It was so funny, we saw this colony of workmen ahead on the path so to avoid them we went across a very marshy field and got our feet soaked! Even then they saw us and started whistling, workmen are all the same.
Mummy fetched us. Wore new dress, hair loose. Daddy was supposed to be coming home at 5.15 but he didn’t so Ma rang up the office and said we’d meet him there. When we got there we found he’d gone. It was awful, we just didn’t know what could have happened. Then suddenly he turned up: he’d been waiting in the CAR. Well honestly, how were we to know? Of course, he put all the blame on Mummy. I think it was entirely his fault because he should have turned up at home at 5.15 in the first place.
Traffic was pretty awful, but at last we got there and were able to park near the restaurant - it was called the Trattoria Paralza. I think the most important thing about a restaurant is a gay atmosphere, and it was super. The waiters all wore blue and white striped shirts. I had avocado with prawns, then entrecote and fillet of beef (huge), then strawberry shortbread. We all got superly giggly! We walked to the theatre, bought gorgeous hot chestnuts on the way, and had about ten minutes before ‘The Cherry Orchard’ began.
Still, the play is wonderful. The uncle, the daughter and the mother (who’s just like London Grandma!) come back to the house and orchard they adore, but it turns out they are so poor they have to sell it. In the end, this little business man they know, whose ancestors used to be surfs on the estate, buys it himself. I never realised how sad it was; the mother was heart-broken. But I think Chekov put most of what he wanted to say into the part of the student, who used to be tutor to the son who since drowned. It was very advanced then to say the family was 200 years out of date, still owning human souls, for example.
The last scene is terribly sad: the little old servant of 85 sits in a chair and realises they’ve forgotten to take him - he calls himself “a silly old idiot”. I only wish the audience had been more responsive - nobody laughed at the funny bits. Honestly, the actors must have been so fed up. Nothing like the audience at Leatherhead.