To start getting an idea of how the play, The Cherry Orchard, might be received in my hometown and what specifically resonated with people there, I’ve started inviting book clubs in my area to read the play starting with…yep… my mother’s book club. They even divided up the parts and read the play out loud (and reported having fun doing it).
My mother kindly jotted down some of the main notes that the ladies in the club had about the play:
The Cherry Orchard & Scott Valley
Feedback from The Etna Bookies, June 20, 2014
Comparison of rural life & land loss in TCO and Scott Valley
• Old families in farming; some “class” structure due to inheritance & heritage, but more subtle
• Marginal economics for some farm or ranch properties and operations
• Heirs can cause inheritance problems and lead to forced sale of ranch
• Optimism of youth
• Newcomers –“new rich” –are trying ‘farming’ but not same emotional attachment as
• Development pressures raise value for non-ag uses (e.g., JH Ranch–Which is a popular outdoor summer camp in the area–, smaller parcels)
• Pressures beyond local control (e.g., environmental regulations) forcing change
• Denial of need to change by some
• No cherry orchards or outdated crops (as of yet)
• No history of serfs/slaves
• Progressive farmers here will change to survive (pivots, sunflower crops, soil moisture probes to save cost of irrigation, organic or natural beef)
• Scott Valley Area Plan (1980) set strategy to keep farmland from being subdivided;resistance to outsiders and developers
They also gave me some suggestions/had questions about how I’ll reach audiences in the valley I grew up in.
Scott Valley Audience for Play
• Press releases and media outreach important
• Local gal connection will help attract interest (The fact I grew up there)
• Promote with EHS (Etna High School) teachers and students
• How to prompt interest without spelling out sensitive comparisons?