The University Theatre will present Three Sisters, Anton Chekhov’s classic drama about family, longing and the desire for change, on Oct. 9-14 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 14 at 2:30 p.m. in the Cellar Theatre of the Fine Arts Building. Tickets are $12 for the general public and $7 for students.
Originally produced in 1901, Three Sisters follows the life of the Prozorov family across several years. Sisters Natasha, Ólga and Irína live in a dreary Russian town and long to escape to the exciting metropolis of Moscow. Each struggles with dreams inhibited by the harsh pressures of reality and the strong tethers of responsibility. Plans fall by the wayside, and the characters are propelled to forge new paths to their own happiness.
“In Three Sisters, Chekhov has created some of the most profound, most challenging and most exhilarating roles ever written for actors,” said David Saltz, head of the department of theatre and film studies.
Inspired by Chekhov’s poetic and modern use of time and space to evoke a delicate and transitory world, director Ray Paolino, an associate professor in theatre and film studies, uses a minimalistic set and few props to allow the strength of the text and actors to shine through.
“Present-day audiences relate to this play because its characters have a magnetic force that appeals to the dreamer, the idealist, the long-living, the sufferer, the romantic,” Paolino said. “Who among us does not reside in one of these groups at some point?”
Oldest sister Ólga, played by senior Shelli Delgado, is an unmarried schoolteacher who assumes the matriarchal role in the family. Middle sister Nastaha, played by Stephanie Murphy, is unhappily married to Kulýgin, played by Will Murdock. Youngest sister Irína, played by Kayla Sklar of Atlanta, is full of expectation, feeling she will only find her true love when she returns to Moscow. Their brother Andréi, played by Zack Byrd, also dreams of a life in Moscow but is heavily in debt, stuck in the village as a clerk in the county council under the president, Protopov, who is his wife’s lover.
To evoke the world of the play fully, Paolino also is using student musicians who participate actively throughout the performance.
The University Theatre’s production of Three Sisters is the first Studio Series show of 2012-2013.