Three Sisters – Drama venue: Estates Theatre, Tue 31 October 19:00, approximate running time, including intermission: 2 hours, 40 minutes, one 20-minute intermission.

The play Three Sisters is inseparable from Chekhov’s theatrical creativity. To me, it seems as if he wrote one endless play. The same theme, the same characters only different names, all concerned with our very fragile and short existence on this planet and the degree of courage we have to take responsibility for one conscious second, called life.

Chekhov in a 1905 illustration.

Chekhov looks at the past very pragmatically and cynically. When, for example, one of the characters says that two hundred years later people will be different, it sounds like a doctor’s irony. Human memory is short, and if a person does not experience certain things, they will not be able to learn from the past. It is very convenient to blame the current generation and time and talk nostalgically about the past when things were slower, more courteous and cheaper… But it is an unmasking of the old culture, a generation gap that Chekhov highlights.

Chekhov had no illusions about human nature. He looked at every stage of life very soberly, analyzing and cutting the abscess in the soul as a good surgeon.”

Three sisters. Olga, Masha, and Irina. The eldest is a teacher at a high school, the middle sister is unhappily married to the teacher Kulygin, the youngest strives to find the sense of life and longs for true love. Yet what the three Prozorova sisters yearn for most is to return to Moscow, a city they remember from their childhood as the only place where one can be happy. Moscow – so magnificent! So exciting! So … different! Olga, Masha and Irina perseveringly long for happiness, which they fail to experience in their lives. And hence they have hopes for the future, pine for the past, while they remain insusceptible to the signs of the present. They deem the present merely a period of transition, a time of exile.

Following the death of their father, three sisters are forced to leave Moscow for life in a provincial town. They bravely confront the tragic discrepancies between yearnings and reality, and a saga unfolds about the vital importance of staying true to oneself while struggling with the burden of everyday life. The play examines the hierarchical and emotional effects of losing status and wealth while coming to terms with changes in modern society.

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