Saturday, March 25, 2017

Three Sisters - closing soon!

It is quite a shame that there have been essentially no reviews of Wolf Manor's Three Sisters.  Even Mooney's which tries to review everything seems to have missed this.  The only review I have come across was this positive review, which I think is quite fair.

I'm not sure one can completely enjoy Chekhov, particularly Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya, since the underlying message is sort of life stinks (and your heart will inevitably be broken and your relatives will probably steal from you) but keep persevering and particularly keep working away.  Also, sometimes the endings, particularly these two I mentioned, could probably use a bit more nuance, rather than the characters going on about how unhappy they are.  Some of the newer translations do try to soften this a bit.

All that said, this is probably the best version I have seen, particularly since I didn't catch Strawdog doing Three Sisters in 2005 (though I did catch their superb Uncle Vanya).  I saw a decent version in Vancouver at the Cultch, though I mostly remember just how much I hated the Natalya character (here named Natasha).

She is just as annoying here -- and interestingly the actor doubles and plays another unpleasant character, Solyony, who seems to feel that he has some claim to Irina's heart, though she certainly has never encouraged him.

The play is played with only a few modifications.  The district commander, Vershinin, is gender flipped, which amplifies Olga's disapproval when Masha insists on telling her that she (Masha) has fallen in love with Vershinin.  There also appear to be small additions to the text that the cast speak to each other, almost inaudibly, as they move between scenes.  I might be wrong about that, however.

It is a fairly heart-rending play about how most people's dreams are dashed.  Even when one does marry the girl of one's dreams (as Andrey marries Natasha), then the reality ends up so much poorer than one's dreams.  For me, this was the first time I really paid much attention to the Andrey character.  He was quite compelling in the first act, seeming particularly eager to please like a puppy, and it was such a disappointment later when he was ordering his sisters around, telling them not to cross Natasha.  I wouldn't say there was redemption later, but he did reveal just how unhappy he was, basically trying (but failing) to deceive himself about the truth about his wife.

Anyway, there is one more show tonight and then tomorrow (Sunday), both at 8 pm, and if you are interested in Chekhov, you should go see this particularly intimate performance. I should note that it is in the basement of Kensington Hall (in Kensington Market naturally).  This is also where I saw Paradise Comics.  I have basically decided that if I can launch "The Study Group" (after finishing up another few projects) then Kensington Hall is probably the perfect location for staging it.

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