Regarded as one of the most outstanding plays from one of the world’s most outstanding playwrights, Anton Chekov’s Three Sisters receives a 21st Century treatment from Sport for Jove theatre.
For Kevin Jackson, a lifetime of fascination with Chekov’s work has culminated in directing this production, which he regards as his “favourite play of all time”.
Three Sisters visits the Prozov sisters in four vastly different situations over a four year period. The sisters live in an army-garrison city in the time of Romanov Russia in the early 1900’s; they go about their everyday lives while lustfully dreaming of things being better in another place or another time.
Jackson says this play is about “dreams” – how “we’ve all got these aspirations to do other things, but how that all ravels out is very slowly and can sometimes be optimistic and sometimes it can be pessimistic.”
Jackson commissioned Russian-Australian writer Karen Vickery to translate Chekov’s play specifically for this production. While he has collected more than 20 translations over the years, he found that even the most recent Australian interpretation, from the late 1980’s, wasn’t fitting, saying: “I wanted to have the audience feel as comfortable as possible with the sound of the language and the organisation of the words.”
The characters wear their hearts on their sleeves in this play, and Jackson describes their ability to “laugh one minute and cry the next” as “distinctly Russian”.
With 20 actors on stage in period costume, the set by Georgia Hopkins takes furniture and elements closely matched to the period and places them in an intangible black void – a fitting tribute to the abstract nature of this play.
Jackson compares Three Sisters to a gathering with your own family for a Christmas lunch, a wedding, or a funeral – “everyone’s got secrets and they don’t talk about it, aunty so-and-so doesn’t like aunty so-and-so but you never know why…” (AM)
Until Aug 13, varied show times. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre, Cnr City Rd & Cleveland Street, Chippendale. $35-$42. Tickets & info: www.seymourcentre.com or 9351 7940