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The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov

The Three Sisters (original 1901; edition 1994)

by Anton Chekhov, David Mamet (Adapter)

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8371517,979 (3.92)40
Meet Olga, Masha, and Irina, warm and cultured young sisters who were reared in the exciting hubbub of Moscow, but have been living in the dull, gossipy backwaters of Russia for far too long. With their father's passing, and the ordinary grip of day-to-day life slowly suffocating them, the urge to return to the city with its rich and exciting life rises to a fever pitch.… (more)
Title:The Three Sisters
Authors:Anton Chekhov
Other authors:David Mamet (Adapter)
Info:Grove Press (1994), Edition: 1st Evergreen, Paperback, 128 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, pb

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The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov (1901)



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"Three Sisters" is widely regarded as one of Chekov's two or three best plays (along with "The Cherry Orchard" and "The Seagull"), and with good reason. We witness the decay of the privileged class in pre-revolutionary Russia, through the lives of the three dissatisfied sisters of the Prozorov family -- young women who long for their treasured past while seeking meaning in a society that has come to value "work". The three sisters are Olga (the unmarried matriarch of the family), Masha (a vital and passionate woman trapped in a marriage with a boring school teacher), and 20 year old Irina, who longs to return to Moscow where she hopes to find a husband and raise a family. Their brother Andrei aspired to a professorship in Moscow, but becomes trapped in a marriage to an ill-bred commoner, Natasha. By the play's end, Natasha is in control of the house and the family members, and with their respective and collective hopes dashed, the three sisters are destined to live out their lives with none of their dreams fulfilled.

I had the benefit of being able to watch each of the four acts of "Three Sisters" in between reading the text, and the experience greatly enhanced my appreciation. Indeed, reading the 1901 play gave me little sense of its power, and I deeply appreciated how the actors were able to flesh out the characters through vocalizations and body language, and all the subtleties of stage direction that so greatly enhanced the play. In light of my very different experience in reading vs. watching the play, I'm left with the dilemma of how to judge the written work -- the "book" here at LT. I choose to judge the play as the living manifestation of Chekhov's written artistry, and in that respect, a 4+ star ranking seems warranted.

With a full plot summarized in detail at Wikipedia, along with lengthy descriptions of the characters, there's little point to my summarizing both. Further, there are innumerable literary analyses available, to which I can add nothing but personal reaction. I recommend the play, of course, in particular a quality acted version. The recorded version that I saw is a BBC production from 1970, that starred Anthony Hopkins, Janet Suzman, and Michele Dotrice. It is readily available in an excellent 6 DVD collection of Chekhov's plays. There is also an amateur production by students at a university in Colorado, but it is best avoided. As a performance, "Three Sisters" demands highly skilled actors and stage direction, since the play is so much more than the dialogue. ( )
1 vote danielx | Jun 20, 2019 |
Four acts with unpleasant people who are frustrated with their lives and where they live.
This edition was good for an e-book but it would have been nice to have had an introduction and not just the text of the play. ( )
  M_Clark | May 31, 2019 |
  kutheatre | Jun 4, 2015 |
Very much a slice of life drama, but it's a life that I can't particularly identify with. It's supposed to be a "classic" but I just didn't get that much out of it. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 24, 2014 |
This copy is of a playbill, NOT the actual play.
  lsutheatre | Aug 27, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (180 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chekhov, Antonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chernomordikmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Mamet, DavidAdaptermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Jarrell, RandallTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fen, ElizavetaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frayn, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guthrie, TyroneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hingley, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huens, Jean-ClaudeTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalima, EinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalima, JaloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kraus, KarelTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mulrine, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oliver, JoanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Young, StarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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