Three Sisters (1997) Photo/Foto: HIDVL
  • Title: Three Sisters
  • Holdings: video (HIDVL)
  • Duration: 02:21:22
  • Language: English, Russian
  • Date: Jan 1997
  • Location: La MaMa Annex, New York City.
  • Type-Format: play, performance
  • Cast: Rebecca Ortese (Olga), Shaula Chambliss (Irina), Dylan Green (Chebutykin), David Letwein (Tusenbakh), Jeff Ricketts (Solyony), Maria Marissa Copeland (Masha), Michele Minnick (Anfisa), Ronobir Lahari (Ferapont), Frank Wood (Vershinin), Drew Barr (Andrei), Lars Hanson (Kulyugin), Paula Murray Cole (Natasha), Sudipto Chatterjee (Fedotik).
  • Credits: Richard Schechner, producer, director ; East Coast Artists, producer ; Anton Chekhov, writer ; Michele Minnick, translation ; Ralph Denzer, Rebecca Ortese, musical directors ; Chris Muller, set design ; Constance Hoffman, costumes ; Russell Champa, lighting.

Three Sisters (1997)

Rather than lock Chekhov's Three Sisters into its own or any other single period, the production moves through time. The first act, performed realistically, takes place in 1901 in a provincial Russian town. The action centers around the 22nd birthday party of Irina, the youngest sister and the arrival in town of the handsome officer, Colonel Vershinin. The second act is staged in biomechanical style, as the Russian director Vsevolod Meyerhold might have done in the early 1920s, the high point of Soviet revolutionary aspirations. The stage is bare except for two benches, a couch, and a piano. The actors sing Red Army songs. The third act takes place in the 1950s in a Siberian labor camp. The prisoners enact Chekhov's play as they build walls of cinder blocks. The last act takes place in the here and now of the theater. The performers, speaking through microphones, address the audience directly. In the background, fragments of dialogue from the previous acts are spoken in an undertone. The sisters? dream of returning to Moscow has been shattered; the love affairs have ended. As the sisters wonder what their suffering means, the old doctor Chebutykin mutters, "It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter." Though performed mostly in English, Chekhov's Russian text is also heard as the role of Anfisa is played entirely in that language by Michele Minnick who translated the play from Russian. The cast also performs a number of East European songs from the 19th and 20th centuries. In this production, East Coast Artists test and explore the relevance of "Three Sisters" as drama, physical theater, fear and hope in desperate times, farce, and soap-opera.