The Cherry Orchard, by Anton Chekhov

Director: Jim Phetterplace, Jr.

Performance Dates:

8, 9, 15, 16 March 2024, 7:30 p.m

10, 17 March 2024, 3:30 p.m.

An aristocratic landowner, distraught over her son’s death, must save the family’s estate by auctioning off their precious cherry orchard. She’s too attached to the home, however, and has to watch her former serf, now a wealthy merchant, buy it away from her. What seems like a simple, even depressing story becomes, in the hands of a writer as skilled as Anton Chekhov, a masterful blend of the comedy and tragedy we all face in everyday life.



RANYEVSKAYA                     Cornelia Groeger

LOPAKHIN                              Michael Ennis

TROFIMOV                             Vaibhav Jain

GAYEV                                    David Jamieson

VARYA                                    Jeanique Rahmlow

ANYA                                      Xenia Kraft

PISHCHIK                               Guido Colangeli

DUNYASHA                            Ornela Giolla

YASHA                                    Mehmet Oguz Akgeyik

YEPIKHODOV                        Pieter van der Ploeg

FIRS                                        David Mark

CHARLOTTA                          Sarnia Jane Schüßler

ENSEMBLE                            Hazem Elessawy

                                                Leticia Tavares

                                                Marija Dumančić


Director                                   Jim Phetterplace Jr.

Assistant Director                   Leticia Tavares

Stage Manager                       Isabelle Krier

Costume Design                     Julie Ann Ng

Prop Design                            Alice Thomas

                                                Gulmira Jumayeva

Sound Design                         Patrick O’Sullivan

Producers                               Alice Thomas

                                                Gulmira Jumayeva

Photography                           Mic Gruber

Tech Team                             Patrick O’Sullivan

                                                Anne Flaherty

Make-up                                  Veronika Ries

Hair                                         Cher Chislett

Jim Phetterplace Jr. (Director)

The Cherry Orchard marks Jim’s third directorial effort for FEST, after Our Country’s Good in 2016 and Loot in 2018. In Germany, he has additionally directed for the English Theatre Frankfurt, the European Central Bank Theatre Ensemble, and Shakespeare Frankfurt. Jim has written theatre adaptations of works by Native American poet Beth Brant, and is currently co-writing a musical adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. Directing it will be his next project. Jim thanks his husband Joachim and their faithful fox-terrier Tom Sawyer for their love, support and patience; being a “theatre widow” is no easy task.

Leticia Tavares (Assistant Director)

A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she has professionally worked as an actress in theatre, television, and cinema from the age of 4, until she left her home country in 2019. In addition, she studied Theatre Pedagogy, Screenwriting and Film Production. With FEST, she was involved in And Then There Were None (substitute for Mrs. Rogers) and Vanja and Sony and Masha and Spike (co-director).

Leticia wants to thank her soon-to-be husband André for all his support.

Cornelia Groeger (RANYEVSKAYA)

Cornelia Groeger was born and raised in Kuwait with a bilingual fluency in English and German. She is a seasoned actress, lover of the performing arts and rediscovered her passion when she moved to New York in 2013. Recent stage credits include Rose in Knowing Cairo, directed by Keith Greenleaf at the Wiesbaden Performing Arts Centre (WPAC), Flora in FEST’s A Slight Ache, directed by Daniel Toyne, Lisa in Adrift, directed by Michael Edan at The NuBox in New York City and Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth in A Night at the Bard at The Players Club, New York City. Cornelia was last seen in the award-winning short film To The Ones Left, as Margaret. She trains under Matthew Corozine (MCS, New York) and Giles Foreman (GFCA, UK). Love and thanks to all who support the theatre & film world.

Michael Ennis (LOPAKHIN)

Michael began his theatre journey in his native Ireland as a teenager many moons ago. Upon coming to Frankfurt in 2007, he quickly got involved with FEST and has been involved in many productions, such as: The Mousetrap, The Zoo Story, Death in Heels, Cinderella (Panto), A Time for Farewells, The Devil with the 3 Golden Hairs, Breakaway (writer and director), Our Country’s Good, The Lonesome West (producer), Death of a Salesman and Vanja and Sonya and Masha and Spike (director and actor). Apart from his involvement with FEST, Michael was also involved in productions of The Crucible and Othello with the English Theatre Frankfurt drama group and Accidental Death of an Anarchist with the ECB theatre ensemble.

Vaibhav Jain (TROFIMOV)

Since 2022, Vaibhav’s been deeply connected to the FEST family, last seen on its Frankfurt stage in And Then There Were None. Excited to be a part of The Cherry Orchard, he sees FEST as a vital part of the city’s artistic pulse – bringing forth the playfulness of live theatre – an antidote to our screen-centered existence. 

A graduate of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Vaibhav debuted in New York with The Music in My Blood (2016), earning Best Ensemble Cast. With other notable performances in The Heidi Chronicles and Glengarry Glenross, he cherishes the different lives theatre allows him to live.

David Jamieson (GAYEV)

This is David’s second performance for FEST following his 2021 debut in Pinteresque. David has been performing and directing in Germany since 2010, when he was recruited by the Usingen English Actors, who have been bringing English theatre to a small town in the Taunus for the last 17 years. In Frankfurt, he has appeared on stage for TLS Frankfurt, both with a script in The Foreigner, A Grimm Tale and The Underpants, and without a script in the Dangerous Play improvised theatre series. Last year saw his first performance with Shakespeare Frankfurt in Romeo and Juliet.

Jeanique Rahmlow (VARYA)

Jeanique, born in a suburb of Berlin, joined FEST in 2015 when she rediscovered her passion for performing on stage. What followed were three productions with the group: The Scheme (2015), Dial M for Murder (2015), and Our Country’s Good (2016). These sparked her interest in gaining foundational training in the performing arts and as a result, she took the Acting Part Time course at Rose Bruford College in London.

After having returned to Frankfurt she joined the FEST production of Vanja and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2023)

Xenia Kraft (ANYA)

A product of the Russian Far East, whose childhood dreams of clowning took a detour through a love for comedy, nurtured by countless movie marathons. Before stepping into her first audition, she honed her skills in acting classes, transforming her aspirations into a tangible craft.

Xenia feels fortunate to have found herself among a talented and welcoming cast. With a heart full of joy, she embraces the opportunity to bring her childhood dreams to life in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.

Guido Colangeli (PISHCHIK)

Born in Rome, Guido has had a lifelong passion for theatre, beginning in childhood. Alongside his career as a software engineer, he has pursued dance theatre, blending his love for both fields. Since 2022, Guido has been living in Germany. He joined the ESOC Theatre Group in Darmstadt, playing in Phase 3 ½ – A Subsonic Romance and A Bold Stroke! (also stage manager). He joined FEST in 2024.

Ornela Giolla (DUNYASHA)

Ornela was born in Albania and grew up in Greece. Since 2015, she has been living in Germany and working in the fashion industry as a Visual Merchandiser. As a film and theatre enthusiast, she has always dreamt of acting one day. After attending her first FEST Workshop, Ornela fell in love with the vast world of theatre and realized something that she already knew: Theatre can change the world. Joining the FEST family as a member has become an important cornerstone of her acting journey.

Mehmet Oguz Akgeyik (YASHA)

Oguz grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. During his childhood, he participated in numerous school plays, always loving his time on the stage. Yet he took a break from theatre to focus on his academic path later on. After coming to Frankfurt, he decided to explore opportunities to get back on stage and was able to reignite his passion in this artwork by joining FEST and the cast of The Cherry Orchard.  For him, this play is just the beginning of what he hopes will be a wild ride with many more FEST productions to come.

Pieter van der Ploeg (YEPIKHODOV)

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Pieter took his first steps into the world of theatre during his English studies in Amsterdam. As a member of a student’s theatre group, he played in several self-written plays, as well as in The American Pilot and A Streetcar Named Desire and was involved in a production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Having recently joined FEST, Pieter now returns to the stage to rekindle his long-lost passion for theatre.

David Mark (FIRS)

David joined FEST in 1982 and has played countless roles over the years – tragedy, comedy, drag, cabaret and more. He was Chairman of the FEATS festival in 2010 and 2017 and is happy to be in another production directed by Jim. David is attracted to acting, because he loves telling other people’s stories.

Sarnia Jane Schüßler (CHARLOTTA)

Born and raised in the UK, Sarnia’s love for acting started with a high school panto: she played Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk (oh yes she did!). She became addicted to treading the boards and has been involved in theatre ever since. Sarnia joined FEST in 2002 and has been on stage in many productions, such as: Dick Whittington, Cinderella, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Whole Shebang and Detainee. Sarnia also directed The Heiress (2011) and Bedroom Farce (2014) and served on the FEST Committee for a number of years.

In addition to her involvement with FEST, Sarnia has acted in The Vagina Monologues (charity performances), Seasons Greetings (Gallus Theater) and Dinner for Five (WPAC).

She is excited to be back on stage and to be part of this dynamic production.

Hazem Elessawy

Hazem comes from the land of the pharaohs. He doesn’t take his camel to work, though, nor does he live in a pyramid. He discovered the world of theatre in his junior year at the American University in Cairo. He appeared on FEST’s stage multiple times, including as Mr. Pommeroy in Mike Riepl’s Dinner for Five, God in Rich Orloff’s Can This Marriage Be Saved, Fred Narracott in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, and Happy Loman in Death of a Salesman. Hazem is a full-time cinephile, book-lover and wannabe writer. And, in his free time, he “engineers” his way out of embarrassing situations.

Marija Dumančić

Marija loved being on stage from an early age and performed in several children singing contests, played piano and loved dancing. Although she grew up in a small town, without a drama club or a theatre, she always found a way to perform and gather her little neighbourhood audience. At the age of 18, Marija wrote and played in a comedy piece along with her high school friends. She is very grateful and happy to be part of The Cherry Orchard and to work with the loving cast and crew.