ABOUT THE THREE SISTERS
By Anton Chekhov
Like steam, life can be compressed into a narrow little container, but, also like steam, it will endure pressure only to a certain point. And in Three Sisters, this pressure is brought to the limit, beyond which it will explode—and don’t you actually hear how life is seething, doesn’t its angrily protesting voice reach your ears?
—Leonid Andreev, “Three Sisters,” in The Complete Collected Works
Regarded by many as the playwright’s masterwork, Three Sisters—the third of Anton Chekhov’s four major full-length dramas—is his longest and most complex play. Chekhov’s contemporary Maxim Gorky memorably praised its initial production in 1901 as “music, not acting,” and considered Three Sisters the most profound and effective of Chekhov’s plays. It is in many ways the archetypal modern drama that pioneered a new dramatic vision and method for the stage. Contemporary audiences and readers now familiar with the dramatic lessons of futility and frustrated expectations by such playwrights as Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter may overlook just how radical and trail-blazing Three Sisters was.
Half a century before Waiting for Godot, Chekhov based his play on waiting for something that never happens, in which decisive actions and resolvable conflicts—essential ingredients of conventional drama—are replaced by paralysis, ennui, and the inconsequential. Almost a century before Jerry Seinfeld promoted a situation comedy in which “nothing happens,”
Chekhov offered a tragicomedy on the same terms: keeping the expected dramatic climaxes offstage, concentrating instead on the interior drama just below the surface of the routine and ordinary. By doing so Three Sisters fundamentally challenged the accepted stage assumptions of its day, while establishing a new dramatic logic and procedure that have influenced and shaped the drama that followed it.
Three Sisters tells the story of three cultured and educated sisters: Olga, Masha and Irina. They live in a family estate in a provincial Russian town miles from Moscow. The girls dream of returning home to Moscow, to their childhood home, where they were happy and full of youthful hope. But now, in the face of the relentless flow of love, life and family worries, their dreams are put on hold as they struggle to survive living in the provinces. It’s a story of love and dreams passed by. Chekhov masterfully interweaves character and theme in subtle ways that make the work's finale seem as inevitable as it is deeply moving.
Despite Chekhov’s undeserved reputation for writing plays with no drama, The Three Sisters is packed with action and emotion, including two tumultuous affairs, a fire that devastates the nearby town, and a duel that ends in the death of a major character.
Tickets for THE THREE SISTERs can be purchased online at www.chagrinacademy.org.
Tickets $12 for students and seniors; $15 for adults
THE AUTHOR – ANTON CHEKHOV
Russian writer Anton Chekhov is recognized as a master of the modern short story and a leading playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is best known as a short story writer and as the author of four of the finest plays every written for the Modern Theatre. THE SEAGULL, THE CHERRY ORCHARD, THE THREE SISTERS and UNCLE VANYA. Chekhov captured life in the Russia of his time by using a deceptively simple technique devoid of obtrusive literary devices. Along with Ibsen, he is regarded as the father of modern realism.
The THREE SISTERS is directed by Tom Fulton; director of the Academy for the Performing Arts. Mr. Fulton is a professional director, actor and arts educator. Since 1975, he has been front and center on the Northeast Ohio theatre scene. He served as Artistic Director for several professional theatre companies – Center Repertory Theatre, Playhouse Square; the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Cain Park Summer theatre and the Cleveland Theatre company. He founded and developed the theatre curriculum for the Academy for the Performing Arts. Mr. Fulton is well known for his work on Chekhov in the professional theatre. He has received many awards and commendations for the rich ensemble work required of Chekhov’s great plays.
The cast of THE THREE SISTERS is made up of company members of the Academy for the Performing Arts. This production is developed according to the training protocols used at the Academy to develop actors and theatrical artists who seek to find truth in each moment through physical action. The young artists of the Academy consistently imbue their work with astonishing depth and transformation.
ABOUT THE ACADEMY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Now in its 15th season, The Academy for the Performing Arts operates like a magnet school for “EXCEL TECC” drawing juniors and seniors from 10 different school systems from the Northeast Ohio area. The Academy is a college preparatory program. About 65% of our students go on to study theatre in its various forms, both onstage and offstage, while most other students go on to college to study other disciplines. The training the Academy students receives in their two years here sharpens their competitive edge and as such they are far more prepared than many of their peers as they seek college enrollment.
Irina (Paige Weir), Masha (Macy Fletcher) and Olga (Joniya Wiggins) hear about
Irina’s fiancé killed in a duel in the Academy for the Performing Art’s production of THE THREE SISTERS, playing February 25, 26, 27 at the Chagrin Falls Performing Arts Center. 400 East Washington Street, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022. For tickets go to chagrinacademy.org