Thursday, April 3, 2014

Three Sisters

ensemble cast in dining room
The Arden Theatre Company, located at 40 N. 2nd Street, will be presenting an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters through April 20.  A star-studded ensemble cast plays the multitude of characters in Chekhov’s 4 Act play.  Acts  1 and 2 have the effect of a  play within a play with wide angle and close-up camera shots of the characters on stage being directed and filmed, then projected onto a large screen. This effect is not used after intermission.  Perhaps because of this, the second half of the play is easier to follow, or perhaps it is easier to follow because the characters have become more familiar. Chekhov writes three dimensional characters and the actors do a brilliant job of portraying them. Rebecca Gibel convincingly gives Natasha an acerbic tongue.  Luigi Sottile, as Andre, brother to the three Prozorov sisters, displays two personalities-one drunk and one sober. Sarah Sanford portrays the oldest sister Olga.  Usually stoic and straight-laced, she can display a venomous temper when crossed. Katherine Powell portrays the middle sister Masha who is unhappy but changes personality completely when she finds happiness. Younger sister Irina is portrayed by Mary Tuomanen.  Her character changes the least.  This is a play depicting great longing and unrealized dreams.  Discontent lives within almost every character;  each one wants something she does not have.   Returning to Moscow   and what was once a more aristocaratic life appears to be a panacea for the three sisters but somehow, it is always just a little bit out of reach . Marriages occur, marriagies fail, liasons are thwarted…is there no way out of this malaise?  Ask Scott Greer who plays the doctor.  He claims he’s forgotten everything he has ever known and he just doesn’t care anymore. Surely the play can’t end on such a dismal note.  It really doesn’t, but you’ll have to come see that for yourself. Much acclaimed scenic designer Eugene Lee has made excellent use of partitions on the stage, creating two rooms and steps leading on and off the stage as actor leave and enter with great frequency.  Three Sisters is an epic piece and one review can’t do it justice. You must come to the Arden and see for yourself what the creative team had done with this masterpiece. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at  

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