Three Sisters at PCPA Theatrefest

threesistersfeatureClosing the PCPA 2011-2012 season is the classic masterpiece by Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters. It will play in the Severson Theatre September 6 – 30. Opening performance is Saturday September 8, 7pm. Chekhov’s brilliant tragi-comedy invites us to provincial 19th Century Russia, and paints a portrait of a family in crisis and a world in transition. His belief in a dynamic future with all its possibilities is tempered by the harsh light of day, and a duel.

This new translation by Marina Brodskaya reveals, for the first time, the full lyricism, humor, and pathos of Chekhov to an English-speaking audience. She has restored passages that have previously been entirely omitted while bringing to life Chekhov’s writing with all its vivacity, originality, and relevance.

Director Roger DeLaurier believes that contemporary audiences can particularly relate to this play because we all have dreams and ambitions in our youth which can be tempered by the life we end up living. In Chekhov’s time, it was shocking to see such realism on a stage; a style that has forever changed what audiences expect from a theatrical performance. In some way, our current day obsession with reality television brings Chekhov full circle. “As our fascination with series such as Downton Abbey grows,” DeLaurier stated, “I hope that the great acting of our theatre company can whet our appetites for more of these great plays.”

Olga (Elizabeth Stuart*), the eldest of the three sisters, is a school teacher and has adopted the matriarchal role in the family. She has never married. Masha (Stephanie Philo), the middle sister, is unhappily married to Kulygin (Erik Stein*) who in the end accepts her back despite her having an affair. The youngest sister is Irina (Natasha Harris). She is full of expectation, feeling she will only find her true love when she returns to Moscow – a dream that will never materialize. Andrey (Paul Henry) is the sisters’ brother who also dreams of a life in Moscow but is stuck in the village, becomes heavily indebted, and works as a clerk in the county council under the president, Protopov, his wife’s lover.

The cast also includes PCPA Resident Artists Karin Hendricks as Natalia, Andrew Philpot* as Vershinin, Evans Eden Jarnefeldt as Tuzenbach, Quinn Mattfeld* as Solyony, Peter S. Hadres* as Chebutykin, and Kitty Balay* as Anfisa.

Scenic Design is by Andy Hammer, Costume Design is by Frederick P. Deeben, Lighting Design is by Tamar Geist, Sound Design is by Elisabeth Rebel, and the Stage Manager is Heather Newman.
Original Music by Elisabeth Rebel, conducted by Callum Morris: Violin I – Grace Seng, Violin II – Tanya Streder, Viola – David Hennessee, Cello – Jeanne Shumway.

Three Sisters was written in 1900 and first performed in 1901. The Russian privileged class is in decay and the characters are questioning what the future of this new modern world will bring them. The sisters see Moscow as the hope of their future happiness and long to leave their isolated home. As the play progresses, and Moscow becomes further and further from their reality, their dreams also fade. One quote from the play sums up their fate and desperation. “It seems to me that everything on earth is bound to change by degrees and is already changing before our eyes. In two or three hundred, perhaps in a thousand years — the time does not matter — a new, happy life will come. We shall have no share in that life, of course, but we’re living for it, we’re working, well, yes, and suffering for it, we’re creating it — and that alone is the purpose of our existence, and is our happiness, if you like.” -Anton Chekhov

Some of Chekhov’s earliest writings were humorous sketches and vignettes of Russian family life for weekly periodicals. In a period spanning 23 years, Chekhov published six novellas, several short stories and 14 plays. Three Sisters is one of the major plays he wrote near the end of his life, the other three being The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1897),  and The Cherry Orchard (1904).
*Member, Actors’ Equity Association”
Just the facts…

Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov

Box Office 805) 922-8313 Wednesday – Sunday 12:30 – 7pm
Venue Severson Theatre
800 S. College, Santa Maria, CA
GPS: enter 1100 S. Bradley, Santa Maria, Ca 93454
Tickets $28.00 – $30.00 with discounts for students, children, and seniors,
and preview performances September 6 & 7.
Times 1:30 Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday
7pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday

PCPA Press Release

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