'The Cherry Orchard' is the last play by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. It opened at the Moscow Art Theatre on 17 January 1904 in a production directed by Konstantin Stanislavski. Chekhov described the play as a comedy, with some elements of farce, though Stanislavski treated it as a tragedy. Since its first production, directors have contended with its dual nature. It is often identified as one of the three or four outstanding plays by Chekhov, along with The Seagull, Three Sisters, and Uncle Vanya.
An aristocratic Russian landowner returns to her family estate (which includes a large and well-known cherry orchard) just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage. The story presents themes of cultural futility – both the futile attempts of the aristocracy to maintain its status and of the bourgeoisie to find meaning in its new-found materialism. It dramatises the socioeconomic forces in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, including the rise of the middle class after the abolition of serfdom in the mid-19th century and the decline of the power of the aristocracy.