The Cherry Orchard was written by Chekhov as a comedy, but directed by Stanislavski as a tragedy on its premier. The play has maintained the dual nature of these intentions ever since. An aristocratic family return to their estate on the eve of auction. Though alternatives present themselves, the family is apathetic and their property is sold. The play addresses the vast changes to the Russian social casts at the time, and the general cultural futility experienced by the aristocracy and bourgeoisie in their shifting roles.