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Theater Review: Three Sisters

Dwayne T. LawrenceThree Sisters - Slow Start; Banter-full Finish

By Dwayne T. Lawrence


[caption id="attachment_1233" align="alignright" width="200"]three sisters Ensemble members Alana Arenas and Ora Jones.
Photo credit: Michael Brosilow[/caption]

I must admit in the beginning, Three Sisters, a play by Anton Chekhov and adapted by Tracy Letts under the direction of Anna D. Shapiro at the Steppenwolf Theater was incredibly slow.  The fact that the play started off slow doesn't necessarily mean that it was bad; it just reflected the sense of mood that Chekhov is famous for trying to display in introducing the psychology of his characters.  The highlights of the play were the interactions between the characters that often times lead to comedic respites.

Other standout performances are led by Carrie Coon (who portrays Masha).  Masha is the dark, forlorn and brooding sister, as compared to Olga, the pragmatist, and the younger sweet and innocent sister Irina (Caroline Neff).  Masha's husband, Fyodor (Yasen Peyankov) was by far the funniest character in this play. Peyankov’s delivery was dry and subtle, but his timing during critical moments was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Speaking of doctors, Chebutykin (Scott Jacek) the army doctor is a nod to Chekhov’s primary profession and contributes richly to the back and forth banter and delivers a one-liner faster than Nolan Ryan pitches.

Three Sisters can be compared to a pot of homemade soup: it starts out bland but when you add to the broth, varied and flavorful ingredients, it becomes more appealing and alive to the palette.  Three Sisters is a wonderful play about humans and their trials and tribulations in trying to live during very strange and obscure times.  Once again Chekhov’s ability to relate the characters to their desires and motivation is reason enough to see this play!

Three Sisters continues through August 26th at Steppenwolf Theatre.

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