Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Theree Sisters"

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note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Larry Stark


"The Three Sisters"

by Anton Chekhov
Adapted by David Mamet
Translation by Vlada Chernomordik
Directed by Rose Carlson

Lighting Design by Greg Jutkiewicz
Sound Assistance Rob Burbea
Stage Manager Warren Cormier

Olga Prozoroff.....................Pamela Rosin
Masha Prozoroff.............Kerry Ann Dailey
Irina Prozoroff.....................Mara Sidmore
Andrei Prozoroff..........George Saulnier III
Natalya Ivanovna.............Korinne T. Hertz
Fyodor Kulygin.................Stephen Cooper
Alexandr Vershinin........Michael O'Connor
Baron Tuzenbach..................Robert Fuller
Vasily Solyony.....................Marco Zanelli
Ivan Chebutykin...............James Robinson
Alexai Fedotik.........Robert Haig Najarian
Vladimir Rode........................Matt Hillas
Ferapont................................Jean Sheikh
Anfisa..............................Marion Cramer
Svortzoff........................Warren Cormier

"The Three Sisters" is a very big play to squeeze into the tall brick box of the tiny Threshold Theatre --- but it fits there, snugly, pensively, comfortably in a lovingly nuanced labor of love by Director Rose Carlson and a dedicated, egoless cast determined to make this classic live again one hundred years after it was written. There are many surprises here --- fresh interpretations of characters that will never die.

Perhaps a newly translated adaptation by David Mamet makes Anton Chekhov's old warhorse more acceptable, but Carlson adds shape and humor as well. Rather than bringing pre-Soviet Russians alive, she has let the conflicts and emotions arise in believable people with long Russian names. The sisters (Pamela Rosin, Kerry Ann Dailey and Mara Sidmore) are a little weepy and huggie, but that fits their period costumes and bygone era perfectly. These three proud daughters of General Prozoroff --- whose death in a provincial outpost town leaves them feeling exiled from the Real Life of the capitol --- feel aloof and withdrawn from all but the artillery officers coming to call, and thrown together, the three have much to console one another about.

Their brother (George Saulnier III) marries a local girl (Korinne T. Hertz) with sharply different values and a shrewish undertone, and dabbles in town politics while sublimating his self-contempt by losing huge sums at cards. One sister (Masha) feels shackled to the pedantic hulk of a local schoolmaster (Stephen Cooper) so she launches into an affair with a married battery-captain (Michael O'Connor) because he was, however briefly, part of their Moscow memories. The youngest sister settles for a philosophy-drunk, doomed lieutenant (Robert Fuller) who sees work as the cure for all ills. What a pity his dimented friend (Marco Zanelli) becomes in his own mind a passionate, murderous rival for her hand.

In nearly every case here, this young cast takes a light tone that makes these people believable. Even James Robinson's gouty, alcoholic old failure of a doctor amuses, as he collects useless hearsay from newspapers to ignore his failings. In fact, most of the play's tensions came from the fact that only when forced do these peel admit to one another the romantic passions making them all unhappy.

This is not a museum-recreation of a musty old classic but quite a warm, lively breathing of theatrical life into huge cast of interesting characters. The new Devanaugn Theatre begins life with a triumph.

Love,
===Anon.


"The Three Sisters" (27 September - 14 October)
DEVANAUGN THEATRE
Threshold Theatre, The Piano Factory, 791 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (781) 893-7404


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