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Three Sisters: A Play By Anton Chekhov (Dramatists Play Service)

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First performed at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1901, The Three Sisters probes the lives and dreams of Olga, Masha, and Irina, former Muscovites now living in a provincial town from which they long to escape. Their hopes for a life more suited to their cultivated tastes and sensibilities provide a touching counterpoint to the relentless flow of compromising events in the real First performed at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1901, The Three Sisters probes the lives and dreams of Olga, Masha, and Irina, former Muscovites now living in a provincial town from which they long to escape. Their hopes for a life more suited to their cultivated tastes and sensibilities provide a touching counterpoint to the relentless flow of compromising events in the real world. In this powerful play, a landmark of modern drama, Chekhov masterfully interweaves character and theme in subtle ways that make the work's climax seem as inevitable as it is deeply moving. It is reprinted here from a standard text with updated transliteration of character names and additional explanatory footnotes.


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First performed at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1901, The Three Sisters probes the lives and dreams of Olga, Masha, and Irina, former Muscovites now living in a provincial town from which they long to escape. Their hopes for a life more suited to their cultivated tastes and sensibilities provide a touching counterpoint to the relentless flow of compromising events in the real First performed at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1901, The Three Sisters probes the lives and dreams of Olga, Masha, and Irina, former Muscovites now living in a provincial town from which they long to escape. Their hopes for a life more suited to their cultivated tastes and sensibilities provide a touching counterpoint to the relentless flow of compromising events in the real world. In this powerful play, a landmark of modern drama, Chekhov masterfully interweaves character and theme in subtle ways that make the work's climax seem as inevitable as it is deeply moving. It is reprinted here from a standard text with updated transliteration of character names and additional explanatory footnotes.

30 review for Three Sisters: A Play By Anton Chekhov (Dramatists Play Service)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Три сестры = The Three Sisters, Anton Chekhov Three Sisters is a play by the Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov. It was written in 1900 and first performed in 1901 at the Moscow Art Theatre. The play is sometimes included on the short list of Chekhov's outstanding plays, along with The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull and Uncle Vanya. Act one begins with Olga (the eldest sister), working as a teacher in a school, but at the end of the play, she is made headmistress, a promotion in which she Три сестры = The Three Sisters, Anton Chekhov Three Sisters is a play by the Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov. It was written in 1900 and first performed in 1901 at the Moscow Art Theatre. The play is sometimes included on the short list of Chekhov's outstanding plays, along with The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull and Uncle Vanya. Act one begins with Olga (the eldest sister), working as a teacher in a school, but at the end of the play, she is made headmistress, a promotion in which she had little interest. Masha, the middle sister and the artist of the family, is married to Feodor Ilyich Kulygin, a schoolteacher. ... Act two begins almost a year later with Andrei and Natasha married with their first child (offstage), a baby boy named Bobik. ... Act three takes place about a year later in Olga and Irina's room. ... In the fourth and final act, outdoors behind the home, the soldiers, who by now are friends of the family, are preparing to leave the area. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و ششم آگوست سال 2004 میلادی عنوان: سه خواهر؛ نویسنده: آنتون چخوف؛ مترجم: سعید حمیدیان؛ کامران فانی؛ تهران، نشر اندیشه، چاپ سوم 1354؛ در 142 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، نشر قطره، 1383، در 136 ص؛ شابک: 9643412571؛ چاپ سوم 1384؛ چهارم 1386؛ پنجم 1387؛ شابک: 9789643412579؛ چاپ نهم 1392؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان روسی - سده 19 م عنوان: سه خواهر؛ نویسنده: آنتون چخوف؛ مترجم: ناهید کاشیچی؛تهران، جوانه توس؛ 1385؛ در 90 ص؛ چاپ سوم 1388؛ چاپ ششم 1392؛ برخی از منتقدان «سه خواهر» را اثری «ناتورالیستی» می‌دانند، درباره ی پوسیدگی، و نابودی تدریجی اشرافیت، در پایان سده ی نوزدهم، و آغاز سده بیستم میلادی، «روسیه» است. نمایشنامه، شرحی بر زندگی، و دل‌مشغولی‌های خانواده: «پروزروف» است. سه خواهر به نام‌های: «اولگا»، «ماشا» و «ایرینا»؛ با برادرشان: «آندره‌ ئی» هستند. خانواده از وضع موجود خویش ناراضیند، و چشم انداز آینده را تیره و تار میبینند، امیدهای خویش را برباد رفته می‌دانند. «سه خواهر» نمایشنامه، جوان، باسواد، تحصیل‌ کرده، و بسیار مبادی آداب هستند. آنها در شهر «مسکو» بزرگ شده، و رشد یافته‌ اند، اما یازده سال است، که در شهری کوچک، واقع در یک ناحیه ای روستایی، در «روسیه»، زندگی می‌کنند. شهر «مسکو» در این نمایشنامه، نقش برجسته‌ ای دارد؛ هر سه خواهر، همواره به آن شهر میاندیشند، و پیوسته آرزو می‌کنند، روزگاری، به آن شهر آرزوهای خویش بازگردند. «مسکو»، در خاطره ی آنها، شهری ست مظهر کمال، که شادترین روزهای زندگی خود را، در آنجا بگذرانیده‌ اند، سه خواهر به تدریج از رویاهای خود دور میشوند...؛ نمایشنامه بارها در ایران، و دیگر کشورها به روی صحنه رفته است. بزرگواران آقایان: «سعید حمیدیان»، «کامران فانی»، «سروژ استپانیان به همراه داستانی دیگر با عنوان سراب و نمایشنامه سه خواهر» و بانو «ناهید کاشی‌چی» این نمایشنامه را به فارسی ترجمه کرده‌ اند. ا. شربیانی

  2. 5 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to The Three Sisters, a Russian play published in 1900 by Anton Chekhov. What an introspective work, but then again, Chekov is always at the top of this particular game, that is, presenting a slice of life we know dear to our hearts. In this one, perhaps his most famous play, three sisters are stuck in a small Russian village, but year to be back in Moscow. Circumstances prevent it. If you don't know any Russian history, you might want to brush up on it before Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to The Three Sisters, a Russian play published in 1900 by Anton Chekhov. What an introspective work, but then again, Chekov is always at the top of this particular game, that is, presenting a slice of life we know dear to our hearts. In this one, perhaps his most famous play, three sisters are stuck in a small Russian village, but year to be back in Moscow. Circumstances prevent it. If you don't know any Russian history, you might want to brush up on it before taking this one on. I struggle to recognize this book came about less than two decades before the famous Romanov family was executed. It feels so very different yet so much the same. I digress. This story is about choice. Or lack of choice. Or more appropriately denying yourself the ability to choose because you lack the confidence to do what you need to do. The three sisters, arguably quite different, might indeed by the same woman inside. Life is hard. Seeing what happens around you when someone else controls the minutes, can be difficult. And you feel stagnant. But when this happens, a writer can capture the beauty of something known as nothing. It's the little things... that make life so interesting... and this book so wonderful. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    After us they'll fly in hot air balloons, coat styles will change, perhaps they'll discover a sixth sense and cultivate it, but life will remain the same, a hard life full of secrets, but happy. And a thousand years from now man will still be sighing, 'Oh! Life is so hard!' and will still, like now, be afraid of death and not want to die. The Three Sisters examines the lives of the Prozorovs, a Russian family who live in a provincial town far from Moscow. The three sisters, Masha, Olga, and “After us they'll fly in hot air balloons, coat styles will change, perhaps they'll discover a sixth sense and cultivate it, but life will remain the same, a hard life full of secrets, but happy. And a thousand years from now man will still be sighing, 'Oh! Life is so hard!' and will still, like now, be afraid of death and not want to die.” The Three Sisters examines the lives of the Prozorovs, a Russian family who live in a provincial town far from Moscow. The three sisters, Masha, Olga, and Irina, all long to return to Moscow and complain about their boring lives. Their brother Andrey is thought to be their only hope for a secure future. But he spoils all that (and his sisters' future, too) by marrying Natasha, a woman who eventually forces the sisters to leave their own home. Masha, Irina, and Olga fail at jobs, marriage, and romance. In the end, each sister ponders why life has been so disappointing for them. (Hint: It's been pretty much up to them). The three sisters and their brother are pretty privileged, members of a fading aristocracy. The play, which was first produced in 1900 is, like his The Cherry Orchard, a kind of late-life reflection on Russia at the close of the nineteenth-century. Chekhov had tb, and would die of the disease 4 years later, but his initial view of his play is that it was a comedy poking fun at people for (mostly) choosing to be unhappy. He once said, "All I wanted was to say honestly to people: 'Have a look at yourselves and see how bad and dreary your lives are!’” “Oh, I am unhappy. . . I can't work, I won’t work. My brain has dried up, and I've grown thinner, plainer, older, and there is no relief of any sort, and time goes and it seems all the while as if I am going away from the real, the beautiful life, farther and farther away, down some precipice. I'm in despair and I can't understand how it is that I am still alive, that I haven't killed myself. . .” Chekhov focuses on the sisters’ inability to be happy and their brother's just as deeply entrenched nihilism. From the earliest productions, the play has embraced a kind of tension between sympathy for the family and a lightly satirical view of them. Andrey: Oh, where is it all gone? What's become of my past, when I was young, happy, and clever, when my dreams and thoughts were exquisite, when my present and my past were lighted up by hope? Why on the very threshold of life do we become dull, drab, uninteresting, lazy, indifferent, useless, unhappy? . . . the divine spark is quenched and we become the same sort of pitiful, dead creatures, all exactly alike, as our fathers and mothers. . . .” Chekhov was neither an existentialist nor a nihilist, so I think of his play as a comedy with the aim of waking up his audience to embrace the present and make a meaningful commitment to love and that “divine spark.” But I also think it can be seen as a sad social critique, too, in a rather different interpretation of the script. I listened to a production of this play set in the nineties translated and adapted by David Mamet, and I liked it. I love Chekhov, who raises questions without answering them, and who creates characters without judging them too harshly, in my opinion, but I am going to read a translation/adaptation by Tracy Letts soon to see what he does with it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kalliope

    So far I have been very lucky with the theatre productions I have been attending. This one did not shine as much, though. I wonder whether had I not been able to compare to some brilliant staging would this play have engaged me more. Nonetheless, it was entertaining. The setting was realistic, with the décor of a late nineteenth century Russia middle class home, with the most appealing aspect in the way parallel actions and conversations could take place on a single defined space. The acting was So far I have been very lucky with the theatre productions I have been attending. This one did not shine as much, though. I wonder whether had I not been able to compare to some brilliant staging would this play have engaged me more. Nonetheless, it was entertaining. The setting was ‘realistic’, with the décor of a late nineteenth century Russia middle class home, with the most appealing aspect in the way parallel actions and conversations could take place on a single defined space. The acting was convincing but verging on the overacting, in particular at the beginning when it verged somewhat towards the histrionic. The dynamics of the play consist of a descent from a ‘forte ‘ in mood and enthusiasm of the three sisters and the one brother, to a moody ‘piano’ as the dreams and the illusions and hopes of the four siblings are deflate and flatten. And Eldorado-Moscow remains an elusive dream and the tougher reality of a provincial rural world prevails. I enjoyed that a real piano was on the stage and that it was not the only instrument invited onto the scene. Music seemed at times to be another character; the most satisfying and satisfied of them all.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Florencia

    By the sea stands a green oak tree; A golden chain strung round it: And on the chain a learned cat Day and night circles round it; Walking right, he sings a song, Walking left, he tells a tale. Alexander Pushkin The tale, this time, is not about Ruslan and Ludmila, the epic poem written by Pushkin and published in 1820, whose opening lines were inspired by the authors favorite tree, which turned out to be a mulberry tree in Taganrog, in southern Russia. Between us, and as some residents said, he wasnt By the sea stands a green oak tree; A golden chain strung round it: And on the chain a learned cat Day and night circles round it; Walking right, he sings a song, Walking left, he tells a tale. — Alexander Pushkin The tale, this time, is not about Ruslan and Ludmila, the epic poem written by Pushkin and published in 1820, whose opening lines were inspired by the author’s favorite tree, which turned out to be a mulberry tree in Taganrog, in southern Russia. Between us, and as some residents said, he wasn’t under the obligation to know botany.¹ The tale, this time, is a play written in 1900 by Anton Chekhov about the Prozorov family, especially the three sisters: Olga Prozorova, the eldest, a high school teacher and then headmistress; Masha Kulygina, the middle sister, unhappily married and often reciting the first lines of Pushkin’s poem; and Irina Prozorova, the youngest, stuck in a provincial town as the rest of the family and always longing for Moscow, where she would find her true love. Another exhausting quest for meaning in a life which is filled with trials and tribulations and some gleams of light in between. IRINA [lays her head on OLGA'S bosom]. A time will come when everyone will know what all this is for, why there is this misery; there will be no mysteries and, meanwhile, we have got to live . . . we have got to work, only to work! Tomorrow I'll go alone; I'll teach in the school, and I'll give all my life to those who may need me. Now it's autumn; soon winter will come and cover us with snow, and I will work, I will work. * VERSHININ [after a moment's thought]. Well, I don't know. . . . It seems to me that everything on earth is bound to change by degrees and is already changing before our eyes. In two or three hundred, perhaps in a thousand years -- the time does not matter -- a new, happy life will come. We shall have no share in that life, of course, but we're living for it, we're working, well, yes, and suffering for it, we're creating it -- and that alone is the purpose of our existence, and is our happiness, if you like. The play is infused with other elements that reminded me not only of Pushkin but other two² great Russian authors: entangled family dynamics, soldiers and barons, adultery, hypocritical manipulation, a duel based on nothing, unconditional love which has been silenced for years, reflections on human existence and its meaning... TUZENBAKH. Well? When we are dead, men will fly in balloons, change the fashion of their coats, will discover a sixth sense, perhaps, and develop it, but life will remain just the same, difficult, full of mysteries and happiness. In a thousand years man will sigh just the same, "Ah, how hard life is," and yet just as now he will be afraid of death and not want it. ...and above all, longing. The characters have different aspirations that converged in the mitigation of loneliness. That’s what fascinated and repelled me at the same time because it’s not a foreign notion to me. The thought, the conviction even, that after achieving something, after going to a certain place, life will be as we dreamed it. And most of the times, having accomplished what we wanted while contemplating the sights of the new residence in which we’re dwelling, happiness becomes ever more elusive. VERSHININ. The other day I was reading the diary of a French minister written in prison. The minister was condemned for the Panama affair. With what enthusiasm and delight he describes the birds he sees from the prison window, which he never noticed before when he was a minister. Now that he's released, of course he notices birds no more than he did before. In the same way, you won't notice Moscow when you live in it. We have no happiness and never do have, we only long for it. Or perhaps there is more beyond longing, if the responsibility for a moment of happiness - because that's all there is³ - is not put on something or someone else. May 01, 19 * Also on my blog. ** Notes 1. The New Yorker, “Pushkin's Favorite Tree”. February 17, 2010 2. Why of course, Tolstoy and my all-time favorite, Dostoyevsky. 3. Allusion to a passage from Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet: There’s no happiness without knowledge. But the knowledge of happiness brings unhappiness, because to know that you’re happy is to realize that you’re experiencing a happy moment and will soon have to leave it behind. - Enjoy it, then?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kenny

    This review is not of Chekhov's brilliant play, but of the translation by Moura Budberg. If you know me, you know I love Chekhov, and I love comparing different translations of his plays. I find it fascinating how people can view the same piece of writing so differently. The problem with Budberg's translation is how stuffy it is. It is very classy stuff, lots of technique is called for from the women to overact, and throw themselves on the nearest gentleman wailing in hysterics. These people This review is not of Chekhov's brilliant play, but of the translation by Moura Budberg. If you know me, you know I love Chekhov, and I love comparing different translations of his plays. I find it fascinating how people can view the same piece of writing so differently. The problem with Budberg's translation is how stuffy it is. It is very classy stuff, lots of technique is called for from the women to overact, and throw themselves on the nearest gentleman wailing in hysterics. These people were written by Chekhov to be passionate, hot blooded and full of life. In Budberg's hands these people become nothing more than caricatures. All the life is sucked out of them. They become very stoic and oh so British. Is it any surprise that Olivier used this translation for his production in 1967? There are so many brilliant translations of Three Sisters out there; this, sadly, is not one of them.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Srividya

    There can be no happiness for us, it only exists in our wishes. I picked up this play on a whim, after seeing a few negative reviews by my friends. Curiosity mooted me to find out what they didnt like about it. A close friend, however, did remark that I would love it and honestly, I did. If I were to sum up my understanding of the undercurrents that flowed under this play, it would be the quote I shared above, which is from this play itself. Life is to be lived forwards and understood ”There can be no happiness for us, it only exists in our wishes.” I picked up this play on a whim, after seeing a few negative reviews by my friends. Curiosity mooted me to find out what they didn’t like about it. A close friend, however, did remark that I would love it and honestly, I did. If I were to sum up my understanding of the undercurrents that flowed under this play, it would be the quote I shared above, which is from this play itself. Life is to be lived forwards and understood backwards, at least that’s what the old adage says and that’s what I believe. However, in life, you can’t help but give way to dreams, dreams of a future that is better than the present and look for times in the past that were purportedly worse than the present. In short, it is about justifying your current situation so that you can live at peace, if not with happiness. Chekhov’s characters in this play are true followers of that and perhaps some more. The play opens with the three sisters, Olga, Irina and Masha sitting comfortably in their home with their brother Andrei, celebrating the name day of Irina. People call on the sisters to wish Irina and to partake lunch with them. The mood is definitely celebratory but we can detect a certain sense of unease in the sisters, largely due to their expectations from their lives being larger than ever. It sets the tone of the entire play and what falls out is quite a treatise in philosophy, especially regarding the connection between living and happiness. This play in four parts beautifully portrays the developmental arc of all the characters. Each act of the play portrays an incident, which takes place with or around the sisters and their family, making it personal. The reactions of the characters towards these various incidences can be interpreted as being applicable to the Russian community at large in those times. The emphasis on culture and education, the lofty ideals and dreams, philosophizing every little thing, and the marked lack of action towards fulfilling any of those ideals or dreams, were some of the topics that this play touched upon. The tone of the entire play is quite sardonic, insomuch as it talks about the inaction that belied every thought invoked by the characters as opposed to actual action. The main characters of the play, the three sisters, were well educated and had independent means to do whatever they want to, but instead of acting upon those dreams of going to Moscow, they are content in just speaking of it, perhaps in an idle manner. Dreams are meant to be just that, just dreams, and nothing else; for if they were to become reality, the reality would be boring and they would then have to seek newer dreams. The inability of human nature to work towards one’s goals, the inability to reach out for the best, while all the way they claim that they deserve the best; is perhaps the most common human behavior in the world and Chekhov, through this play, has brought it out in a manner that is most profound and yet quite ironic. Each sister is shown to be unhappy with her life but they don’t do anything about it. Despite having the means, they compromise and glorify these unnecessary sacrifices or compromises while always dreaming of a better tomorrow. The strain ‘We shall live in Moscow’ becomes an unfulfilled dream for no better reason than the inability to act upon it, making it a dream that takes proportions that are larger than life. Chekhov, through their interactions, shows us that it is not the action that they desire, so much as they desire the dreaming of it. In other words, going to Moscow won’t really change what they are, for once they are there, they might out of sheer boredom think of something else that would please them better and show themselves as martyrs once again. Chekhov brings forth this attitude beautifully during the discussion between Masha and Vershinin, where Vershinin through his philosophizing routine tries to pinpoint the necessity of action but the sisters’ reaction shows that it isn’t action but the very inaction that they desire – it should remain a dream, always a dream and nothing more than a mere dream; MASHA: A knowledge of three languages is an unnecessary luxury in this town. It isn’t even a luxury but a sort of useless extra, like a sixth finger. We know a lot too much. VERSHININ: Well, I say! You know a lot too much! I don’t think there can really be a town so dull and stupid as to have no place for a clever, cultured person. Let us suppose even that among the hundred thousand inhabitants of this backward and uneducated town, there are only three persons like yourself. It stands to reason that you won’t be able to conquer that dark mob around you; little by little as you grow older you will be bound to give way and lose yourselves in this crowd of hundred thousand human beings; their life will suck you up in itself, but still, you won’t disappear having influenced nobody; later on, others like you will come, perhaps six of them, then twelve, and so on, until at last your sort will be in the majority. In two or three hundred years’ time life on this earth will be unimaginably beautiful and wonderful. Mankind needs such a life, and if it is not ours today then we must look ahead for it, wait, think, prepare for it. We must see and know more than our fathers and grandfathers saw and knew. And you complain that you know too much. MASHA: I’ll stay to lunch. IRINA: Yes, all that ought to be written down.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kenny

    3.5/5 based on this translation. The story goes that many years ago, a couple saw a performance of Chekhovs THREE SISTERS, afterwards, the husband gentleman turn to his wife and moaned, Three hours, and they didnt get to Moscow! The wife turned to her husband, shot him a withering look and said in the driest of tones, Murray, if they got to Moscow, it would have been a musical! Chekhov believed THREE SISTERS to be a comedy. In fact, Chekhov was convinced of it. When the Moscow Art Theatre gathered 3.5/5 based on this translation. The story goes that many years ago, a couple saw a performance of Chekhov’s THREE SISTERS, afterwards, the husband gentleman turn to his wife and moaned, “Three hours, and they didn’t get to Moscow!” The wife turned to her husband, shot him a withering look and said in the driest of tones, “Murray, if they got to Moscow, it would have been a musical!” Chekhov believed THREE SISTERS to be a comedy. In fact, Chekhov was convinced of it. When the Moscow Art Theatre gathered to read it for the first time, the entire troupe was reduced to tears. Chekhov finally relented and titled the piece “a drama in four acts,” the only time he ever gave that designation to any of his plays. I myself, have never found much comedy in THREE SISTERS, and I am one of those people who does find Chekhov to be hilarious ~~ I dare you to watch The Seagull, and not laugh out loud. For me, THREE SISTERS is a problem play, and my least favorite of Chekhov's major plays. This is due I believe mainly to faulty translations. This translation was authored by Stark Young. My issues with his translation is that it is too stagy, too wordy. Stark may have been renowned for his translations at the time, but honestly, they have not held up will over time. Young writes from a romanticized view of Russia, serfs and class structures, much the same as some writers have romanticized slavery. Young's characters never come alive for me. There is no vibrancy or life to these people. They are dead before they take the stage. The question at the center of THREE SISTERS “How do we go on?”. Honestly, in Young's translation of THREE SISTERS, you don't care. Before the end of the year, I will read David Mamet's translation & Tracy Letts translation. I hope in the hands of dramatists, the characters truly come alive.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    Written and performed at the turn of the century (1900), The Three Sisters is one of Chekhov's best known plays. The sisters, Olga, Masha, and Irina, former Muscovite's now living in a provincial city, are struggling to find happiness in their lives. They dream of returning to Moscow someday to find love and fulfillment, but they are trapped by the events and circumstances surrounding their daily lives. The themes in the play are very subtle and it can be a difficult one to read. It would be Written and performed at the turn of the century (1900), The Three Sisters is one of Chekhov's best known plays. The sisters, Olga, Masha, and Irina, former Muscovite's now living in a provincial city, are struggling to find happiness in their lives. They dream of returning to Moscow someday to find love and fulfillment, but they are trapped by the events and circumstances surrounding their daily lives. The themes in the play are very subtle and it can be a difficult one to read. It would be better to see the play on stage I think, and watch the actors bring the personalities and emotions of these sisters to life. I was struck by their devotion and loyalty to one another, and their determination to make the best of what life had thrust upon them.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lea

    "And, restless, seeks the stormy ocean, as though in tempest there were peace." I feel this is an amazing play that stunningly portraits existential crisis inevitable in the life of every person who thinks of life in a deeper way. TUZENBAKH: You think it's no use even dreaming of happiness! But what if I'm happy? VERSHININ: No, you're not. MASHA: Gogol says: it's dull living in this world, friends! I really liked the exploration of themes of transience and the meaning of life (found in work, "And, restless, seeks the stormy ocean, as though in tempest there were peace." I feel this is an amazing play that stunningly portraits existential crisis inevitable in the life of every person who thinks of life in a deeper way. TUZENBAKH: You think it's no use even dreaming of happiness! But what if I'm happy? VERSHININ: No, you're not. MASHA: Gogol says: it's dull living in this world, friends! I really liked the exploration of themes of transience and the meaning of life (found in work, ambition, dreams of living in a different place and future) and our importance in the universe that can be found in each character in a different way. My favorite character by far was Vershinin, the deliverance of his thoughts and philosophy was brilliant. VERSHININ: Yes. They'll forget us. Such is our fate, there is no help for it. What seems to us serious, significant, very important, will one day be forgotten or will seem unimportant [a pause]. And it's curious that we can't possibly tell what exactly will be considered great and important, and what will seem petty and ridiculous. I could relate to the restlessness of the human soul so much, and sense of balancing between the pressure of wasting life and realization of the unimportance of everything we do on a larger scale. Do we use our work and hope in a better future in day to day as a defense mechanism from almost unbearable feelings of meaningless of life? And, more importantly, are they efficient enough? When do forget our big dreams and settle down with mediocrity and small-mindedness, and do we really ever settle down? Does society kill our individuality and uniqueness? VERSHININ: Let's suppose that of the hundred thousand people living in this town, which is, of course, uncultured and behind the times, there are only three of your sort. It goes without saying that you cannot conquer the mass of darkness round you; little by little, as you go on living, you'll be lost in the crowd. You'll have to give in to it. Life will get the better of you, but still you'll not disappear without a trace. After you there may appear perhaps six like you, then twelve and so on until such as you form a majority. In two or three hundred years, life on earth will be unimaginably beautiful, marvellous. Man needs such a life and, though he hasn't got it yet, he must have a presentiment of it, expect it, dream of it, prepare for it; for that he must see and know more than his father and grandfather. VERSHININ: If one listens to a man of the educated class here, civilian or military, he's worried to death by his wife, worried to death by his house, worried to death by his estate, worried to death by his horses. . . . A Russian is peculiarly given to exalted ideas, but why is it he always falls so short in life? Why? Not the most imaginative plot, but the questions that this play opened, were for me deeply moving and brilliant but the ones that nobody can give answers to. A lot of great quotes to think about and get either inspired to do something in your life or get really depressed. ANDREY: Oh, where is it all gone? What's become of my past, when I was young, happy, and clever, when my dreams and thoughts were exquisite, when my present and my past were lighted up by hope? Why on the very threshold of life do we become dull, drab, uninteresting, lazy, indifferent, useless, unhappy? . . . Our town has been in existence for two hundred years -- there are a hundred thousand people living in it; and there's not one who's not like the rest, not one saint in the past, or the present, not one man of learning, not one artist, not one man in the least remarkable who could inspire envy or a passionate desire to imitate him. . . . They only eat, drink, sleep, and then die . . . others are born, and they also eat and drink and sleep, and not to be bored to stupefaction they vary their lives by nasty gossip, vodka, cards, litigation; and the wives deceive their husbands, and the husbands tell lies and pretend that they see and hear nothing, and an overwhelmingly vulgar influence crushes the children, and the divine spark is quenched in them and they become the same sort of pitiful, dead creatures, all exactly alike, as their fathers and mothers. . . . Recommended for all lovers of existentialism and nihilism.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    Three Sisters tells us the lives, struggles and dreams of Olga, Masha and Irina at a time of social and political change in Russia. Change and transformation has been one of the key themes of Chekhov as the social and political changes were slowly making progress through Russia. Though Chekhov didn't live to see the Russian revolution, his works hints at future change which was inevitable. Olga, Masha and Irina dream of settling down in Moscow and living in an elevated society. Their struggle to Three Sisters tells us the lives, struggles and dreams of Olga, Masha and Irina at a time of social and political change in Russia. Change and transformation has been one of the key themes of Chekhov as the social and political changes were slowly making progress through Russia. Though Chekhov didn't live to see the Russian revolution, his works hints at future change which was inevitable. Olga, Masha and Irina dream of settling down in Moscow and living in an elevated society. Their struggle to achieve this end and the circumstances and misfortunes that bar their progress in realizing the dream is dramatically presented. The story, the characters and the dramatic effect was all interesting, and I did enjoy the read. This is the second play that I have read of Chekhov - the first being The Cherry Orchard and I really feel they should be watched than read. The strong emotions that Chekhov imparts in to the characters are best seen than read. The joys, sorrows, heartaches and jealousies that were accurately and vividly portrayed would have been more heartfelt was the play watched. Chekhov wrote them to be performed and only through performance could the true nature of the play would come to light.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Three Sisters is a classic play written by Anton Chekhov. It opened in 1901 and one of the premiere actors was none other then Stanislovsky. The central theme of this work is to showcase the hopes and dreams of the characters. However, the circumstances surrounding this family with three sisters cripples any attempt for joy. The Sisters Olya is the oldest sister. She thrives as the caretaker of the family. She is a teacher and a spinster. At one point tells Irina that she would have married "any Three Sisters is a classic play written by Anton Chekhov. It opened in 1901 and one of the premiere actors was none other then Stanislovsky. The central theme of this work is to showcase the hopes and dreams of the characters. However, the circumstances surrounding this family with three sisters cripples any attempt for joy. The Sisters Olya is the oldest sister. She thrives as the caretaker of the family. She is a teacher and a spinster. At one point tells Irina that she would have married "any man, even an old man if he had asked" her. She cares deeply for her family and the servants of the household. Masha is the middle sister. She married young to Kulygin and has fallen out of love with him. She falls in love with Lieutenant-Colonel Vershinin and they begin an affair. After he is transferred, she returns to her husband. Even though he knows what she has done, he takes her back. She has a hot temper and offers humor throughout the play. Irina is the youngest. She longs to return to Moscow. She believes that is where she will find her true love. When she realizes they will never return to Moscow, she agrees to marry the Baron Tuzenbach. Although she does not love him, she has grown fond of him and they have formed a friendship. She never gets to marry Tuzenbach as he is needlessly shot in a duel. What happens in this play? Andrei is the brother to the three sisters. Like his sister Irina, he dreams of returning to Moscow. He marries Natasha and they have two children. Due to his gambling debt he ends up mortgaging the house and doesn't tell his sisters about it. He is forced to face the ridicule of the village council president, Protopopov. Natasha (Andrei's wife) started out as a soft spoken good girl with no family. By the end of the play she has manipulated the entire family to get what she wants. Additionally, she is carryon on with her husband's nemesis Protopopov. There are several soldiers weaving in and out of the text. Their presence throughout the play reminds us that we are always in turmoil and always needing protection front he forces of the outside world. Although I feel many of us can relate to elements of this play (what are my dreams and how can I achieve them), the climate of the text is very dry. I have read this play countless times before and I still find it a challenge to absorb all of the plot twists, characters, and the themes. Chekhov was a skilled playwright and yet it is a mental marathon to read his works. If you like this style of writing, I suggest reading: The Cherry Orchard

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    As much as I loved listening to an audio version of this book, I really long to see this play on stage. I feel like I'll be better able to understand it once I see it played out. I feel like it's just one of those plays, the kind that is meant to be seen and not only read (or listened to). A play is, at times, such a delicate genre. So many things need to fall in place for it to work. This was actually my first play by Chekhov. I've read so many short stories by Chekhov, and as I'm always hungry As much as I loved listening to an audio version of this book, I really long to see this play on stage. I feel like I'll be better able to understand it once I see it played out. I feel like it's just one of those plays, the kind that is meant to be seen and not only read (or listened to). A play is, at times, such a delicate genre. So many things need to fall in place for it to work. This was actually my first play by Chekhov. I've read so many short stories by Chekhov, and as I'm always hungry for more, I presume it's only a matter of time before I read them all. On other hand, Chekhov as a playwright is not that familiar to me. I do plan to read all of his plays eventually. The Three Sisters is perhaps the best known of Chekhov's plays. Written at the turn of the century, in 1900 and first performed in 1901, this drama tells the story of a family, most notably of three sisters. Chekhov's ability to understand every corner of a woman's soul never ceases to amaze me. This play focuses on the lives of three sisters: Olga, Maria (Masha) and Irina. Their brother Andrei plays a role in the play as well, but I think we can all agree that the ladies are central characters. The novel opens up in a small town, where sisters currently live. One of them (Olga) is dreaming of returning to Moscow, thus setting the tone of the play. An imaginary return to Moscow and escape from the province is a recurring theme in this play. The Tree Sisters does a wonderful job of portraying the isolation and the loneliness of the human spirit and is in that sense very modern: "OLGA. It is warm today, we can have the windows open, but the birches are not in leaf yet. Father was given his brigade and came here with us from Moscow eleven years ago and I remember distinctly that in Moscow at this time, at the beginning of May, everything was already in flower; it was warm, and everything was bathed in sunshine. It's eleven years ago, and yet I remember it all as though we had left it yesterday. Oh, dear! I woke up this morning, I saw a blaze of sunshine. I saw the spring, and joy stirred in my heart. I had a passionate longing to be back at home again!" The only reason why I thought of giving it four stars is that I feel I'm not quite done with it yet. I feel this play needs more than just one reading. Unlike Chekhov's short stories, this play was a bit hard to follow at times. It's beautifully written, but I kept being distracted. Maybe it was my own fault? I will be updating this review once I reread The Three Sisters- and hopefully also once I find a good 'on stage' version of it. On second thought, it is definitely a five star book. An absolute master-piece. I just need a bit more time to study it thoroughly. If you're looking for a play with a delicate psychological portrayal of female characters, look no further. In conclusion, it is a play I would recommend to every lover of classical literature.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Anton Chekhov seems so deceptively simple in his great plays such as The Three Sisters that we sometimes don't see the mystery that is there. In this case, we have a young family consisting of a brother and three sisters, all full of high hopes and expressing a wish to move to Moscow, where "the lights are much brighter there/you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares." The mystery is in the curious entropy of life, that proceeds heedless of our wishes and dreams. Even Andrey, the Anton Chekhov seems so deceptively simple in his great plays such as The Three Sisters that we sometimes don't see the mystery that is there. In this case, we have a young family consisting of a brother and three sisters, all full of high hopes and expressing a wish to move to Moscow, where "the lights are much brighter there/you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares." The mystery is in the curious entropy of life, that proceeds heedless of our wishes and dreams. Even Andrey, the brother, whose "brilliant career" as a Moscow professor, comes to grief in the garrison town in the provinces:Oh, what has become of my past and where is it? I used to be young, happy, clever, I used to be able to think and frame clever ideas, the present and the future seemed to me full of hope. Why do we, almost before we have begun to live, become dull, grey, uninteresting, lazy, apathetic, useless, unhappy.... This town has already been in existence for two hundred years and it has a hundred thousand inhabitants, not one of whom is in any way different from the others. There has never been, now or at any other time, a single leader of men, a single scholar, an artist, a man of even the slightest eminence who might arouse envy or a passionate desire to be imitated. They only eat, drink, sleep, and then they die... more people are born and also eat, drink, sleep, and so as not to go silly from boredom, they try to make life many-sided with their beastly backbiting, vodka, cards, and litigation. The wives deceive their husbands, and the husbands lie, and pretend they see nothing and hear nothing, and the evil influence irresistibly oppresses the children and the divine spark in them is extinguished, and they become just as pitiful corpses and just as much like one another as their fathers and mothers.... At the end, the garrison is transferred to Poland; and the three sisters have resolved to soldier on in their own way, perhaps even irrespective of happiness. Reading Chekhov could be like a cold bath on an icy day. But there is something in his stories and plays that reminds us that happiness does not come to us as the result of the fulfillment of pipe dreams. It may not come to us at all. No one ever told us that life was going to be fair.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Inkspill

    So, whats this play about? In a nutshell, and I think this quote from Act 4 sums it up nicely: (view spoiler)[ MASHA. When you take your happiness in little bits, in snatches, and then lose it, as I have done, you gradually get coarser, more bitter. (hide spoiler)] Like all the other works Ive read by Chekhov, this is also not an easy read. Yep, Chekhov makes you work for it. I thought the reason why it was tough is because I was looking for the main character and a signposts that told me which So, what’s this play about? In a nutshell, and I think this quote from Act 4 sums it up nicely: (view spoiler)[ MASHA. When you take your happiness in little bits, in snatches, and then lose it, as I have done, you gradually get coarser, more bitter. (hide spoiler)] Like all the other works I’ve read by Chekhov, this is also not an easy read. Yep, Chekhov makes you work for it. I thought the reason why it was tough is because I was looking for the main character and a signposts that told me which way to go to get the most out of reading this play. I finished reading it enjoying the dialogue exchange and some wonderful poignant observations about the human condition, but I wasn’t sure if anything actually happened. It was much later I realised, once again, Chekhov was being modest. Here, it was what happens when you are starved of happiness. By putting aside looking for those usual markers to read a story, I realise this is a very powerful play. Yeah, Chekhov made me work to understand it, I'm glad, it's left an impression and was worth the effort. It's a beautiful play where Chekhov's words bring a light to all the darkness.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nawal

    To read Chekhov (the dramatist) is to crack a case! His literary style does not include a central plot which drives the play, the tragedy and comedy are inextricably intertwined, the lack of clarity and defined meanings are intrinsic characteristics of his drama, which eventually puzzles the reader, It may even allude to a static plot consisting of characters mulling upon the mundane! The three sisters seems to follow the same pattern that focuses on the development of the different characters' To read Chekhov (the dramatist) is to crack a case! His literary style does not include a central plot which drives the play, the tragedy and comedy are inextricably intertwined, the lack of clarity and defined meanings are intrinsic characteristics of his drama, which eventually puzzles the reader, It may even allude to a static plot consisting of characters mulling upon the mundane! “The three sisters” seems to follow the same pattern that focuses on the development of the different characters' emotional states and outlooks on life instead. The mixture of both external details and psychic projection’ is of particular interest! Set in a mythological provincial Russian town in the late 1800's, The theme that unites the various elements in the play revolves around the life of the Prozorov family, inclusive of the three sisters Masha, Olga and Irina and their somewhat ineffective brother Andrei, the characters are well-educated, enlightened but as they have been burden with the knowledge, they can never be happy, their education, other than providing them a living, does them no good, nor does it bring them any closer to achieving their goal of returning to their beloved Moscow, they are discontented, drowning in stagnation and extremely frustrated by their present-day living. Chekhov echoes an anti-enlightenment idea, and conveys that happiness and education are not properly and intimately connected. He uses the Prozorov family as an analogy for mirroring the reality of futility and despair experienced by Russians of that era. I have the impression that Chekhov wrote the play to convey a social message to his contemporaries stuck in their lives, he’s kind of telling them: Have a look at yourselves and see how bad and dreary your lives are! The city of Moscow the "three sisters" kept yearning for represents to the Prosorov sisters the life they do not have and shall not have, Moscow as the sisters imagine it does not exist. It's their unfulfilled dream which becomes more remote and intense with each act, . They have an idealized and idealistic view of the past and their refusal to ACT and embrace modernity result in stagnation and ennui. The ending tends to emphasize the continuation of conflict; Chekhov doesn’t bring any change into the life of his characters, on the contrary his characters fail to undergo a change, he just treats his characters the way life would have treated them! Does not he thereby, force us his readers to examine our conceptions about life and human nature?!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gorab Jain

    Stopped at 25%. Saving this gem for sleepless nights :|

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    Reminiscing on the Past and Reflecting on the Future 3 October 2013 Reading this play I got the impression that it was basically about a group of people sitting in a house talking about philosophy and pining for the good old days. As I have mentioned before, reading plays, especially if I have not seen them performed, can be a difficult task at best, and sometimes I have to read some two of three times to be able to follow them (though some of them I need to read only once however Chekov does Reminiscing on the Past and Reflecting on the Future 3 October 2013 Reading this play I got the impression that it was basically about a group of people sitting in a house talking about philosophy and pining for the good old days. As I have mentioned before, reading plays, especially if I have not seen them performed, can be a difficult task at best, and sometimes I have to read some two of three times to be able to follow them (though some of them I need to read only once – however Chekov does not fall into that category). Anyway, when I read the synopsis and theme on Wikipedia, I discovered that it was about a bunch of people in a house talking philosophy and pining about the good old days – oh and three of those people where sisters, which is why it is call The Three Sister (uh duh). Anyway, I want to focus on three quotes from the play and write about what those quotes mean to me. ANDREI: And you can sit in some huge restaurant in Moscow without knowing anyone, and no one knowing you; yet somehow you don't feel you don't belong there. Whereas here you know everybody, and everybody knows you, and yet you don't feel you belong here; you feel you don't belong at all. You're lonely and feel like a stranger. The sisters actually grew up in Moscow and moved out to the country when they were young and through out the play they are pining for a return to Moscow (which never happens). I can very much relate to them because I personally understand the quote above. I grew up in Adelaide which, with a population of around 1.2 million people, is technically a city, but even then it has the attitude of a small country town. Basically you cannot wonder around Adelaide without running into people that you know. It is okay if you are a friendly, personable person who has not made a huge amount of enemies, but having lived a rather wild life, that was not the case for me. As such in my last few years in Adelaide I found myself forever ducking and weaving, trying to avoid people that I did not want to run into. However, it is also like what Andrei says about – living in Adelaide was like sitting in a restaurant where you know everybody, and everybody knows you, and you feel as if you do not belong. Then I moved to Melbourne. I may not have the best job in Melbourne, but at least it is not Adelaide. In a way, it is better to have a sucky job (at least in my opinion) and live in Melbourne, than to have a sucky job and live in Adelaide. Once again, as Andrei says, living in Melboure is like sitting in a restaurant where you know nobody and nobody knows you, yet you feel as if you belong. Further, I am not ducking and weaving, hoping that I will not run into somebody that I don't want to run into. Mind you, getting the Adelaide mindset out of my mind still will take time, and I have made a few blunders while I am hear as well, but I still feel as if I can walk down the road with my head held high. TUTZNBACH: All right then. After we're dead, people will fly around in balloons, the cut of their coats will be different, the sixth sense will be discovered and possibly even developed and used for all I know. But, I believe life itself will remain the same; it will still be difficult and full of mystery and full of happiness. And in a thousand years' time people will still be sighing and complaining “how hard this business of living is!” And they'll still be scared of death and unwilling to die just as they are now. Here they are talking about the future and what the future may bring, and their discussion seems to be very insightful, at least what Tutznbach says. I look at the world around me and say that what Chekov said through Tutzenbach is right. Indeed technology has made things easier, and the cultural attitudes may have changed, but people still find life difficult and happiness fleeting. However, the interesting thing about happiness is that economists try to measure it, and they believe that happiness comes through owning stuff. However that is not the case. I have lived in a big house, owned my dream car, and had stuff, but it did not make me happy. I even had a bucket load of friends, yet even with all of these friends I still felt very much alone. It is funny because now I don't own a car, live in a room in a share house (with some pretty good housemates), and don't really own lots of stuff, and while I have friends, I can't say it is the same as it was before, yet I don't feel alone and I can say that I am happy. I don't know what this move to Melbourne has done for me, because I can even walk into a sucky job with a smile on my face, and I am still trying to make my mind up whether I want to shoot for a higher paying, more intellectually stimulating job, or simply use this job as a way to have a steady income while saving my intellectual abilities for my hobbies outside of work. I used to know a thing or two twenty-five years ago, but now I don't remember anything. Not a thing! Perhaps I'm not a man at all, but I just imagine that I've got hands and feet and a head. Perhaps I don't exist at all, and I only imagine that I'm walking around and eating and sleeping. This seems to be the most existantialist statement that I have read so far in one of Chekov's plays. It seems as if the speaker of these words has grown old and lost touch with his identity. In a way it seems to be reflective of our society, as we discard the traditions of the past and move into a post-modern present where traditions are defined by individual preference. It seems as if we, as a people, have lost our identity, and as if our concept of culture is really only imaginary. In fact the whole idea of our culture seems to be imaginary. Music and art seem to only exist for one purpose, and that is for making money. Art these days seems to evolve around advertising and marketing, as does music. Films are produced not on literary merit but on whether the return will outweigh the production costs. Our society, in a sense, is based entirely around consumerism, and any culture that seems to exist is not culture at all, but a farce. Even sport, with athletes earning millions of dollars, have seemed to have lost its cultural significance to simply only exist as a means to keep the population distracted.

  19. 5 out of 5

    ژی

    I've Seen it in the Theater with buddies, at Kurdistan region!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Available at LibriVox: http://librivox.org/the-three-sisters... From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3: Three sisters living in a garrison town in provincial Russia dream of the day that they will return to their home city of Moscow. Maybe then their lives will really start. But in Anton Chekhov's poignant classic somehow real life keeps getting in the way. Three Sisters was written in 1900 and is a meticulously observed play for an ensemble cast. In its wry portrayal of dreams and self-delusion, and of the Available at LibriVox: http://librivox.org/the-three-sisters... From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3: Three sisters living in a garrison town in provincial Russia dream of the day that they will return to their home city of Moscow. Maybe then their lives will really start. But in Anton Chekhov's poignant classic somehow real life keeps getting in the way. Three Sisters was written in 1900 and is a meticulously observed play for an ensemble cast. In its wry portrayal of dreams and self-delusion, and of the folly of believing that life is always better elsewhere, Chekhov's drama captures universal truths, joys and sorrows but his greatness as a writer of the human condition lies in his avoidance of either sentimentality or judgement. With Peter Ringrose on additional piano Sound ..... Nigel Lewis BBC Cymru Wales production. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0739rh4

  21. 5 out of 5

    Em*bedded-in-books*

    1.5 stars. I am not very particular to plays, and perhaps this fact coupled with the fact that I find long and confusing names a deterrent to the story, along with the multiple minor characters made me dislike the book. What I understood: -there's a brother and 3 sisters - brother has a sweetheart whom he marries and who shows her true colors slowly after marriage -three sisters are slowly alienated and displaced from their house -there are many army gentlemen whose only chore is to attend dinner 1.5 stars. I am not very particular to plays, and perhaps this fact coupled with the fact that I find long and confusing names a deterrent to the story, along with the multiple minor characters made me dislike the book. What I understood: -there's a brother and 3 sisters - brother has a sweetheart whom he marries and who shows her true colors slowly after marriage -three sisters are slowly alienated and displaced from their house -there are many army gentlemen whose only chore is to attend dinner parties, talk pointlessly and fall in love with females around -there's the mention of a duel -one of the gentlemen die in the duel IF there was any hidden gem , I failed to discover it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I have an intense love/hate relationship with Chekhov and it is because of this play. Three sisters sitting around whining about taking the train to Moscow. It is a story of transformation, boredom and listlessness. Which may be why I felt bored and listless when reading it. Perhaps. To go to Moscow. To go back to Moscow. Moscow. . .Moscow. . .

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

    Oh does this play cut to the bone! Maybe Chekhov's best play, the dreams and despairs of a parade of memorable characters are revealed against the backdrop of socially restless Russia, glimpsed at four precisely chosen moments, stretched over three years of their lives. Olga is the good girl, Masha is the bad one, and Irina is the idealist, while their brother wallows in self-pity and alienation and the men who love them compete for love they'd rather find in Moscow. A perfect encapsulation of Oh does this play cut to the bone! Maybe Chekhov's best play, the dreams and despairs of a parade of memorable characters are revealed against the backdrop of socially restless Russia, glimpsed at four precisely chosen moments, stretched over three years of their lives. Olga is the good girl, Masha is the bad one, and Irina is the idealist, while their brother wallows in self-pity and alienation and the men who love them compete for love they'd rather find in Moscow. A perfect encapsulation of what happens when potential is too long deferred for pragmatism, this play is just as powerful now as it was when it first appeared and the lives of Chekhov's characters are impossible to not recognize as our own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    James

    This play contains multitudes beneath the the surface banalities. I don't even know how to approach a review of this masterpiece. Suffice it to say that it's a beautifully written tragedy with surprising moments of humor. Nabokov said that no writer created more pathetic characters than Chekov, and certainly this play attests to that, but its greatness is beyond that. This is a case where I don't know how to do the work justice in a review, so I will instead merely give this masterpiece the This play contains multitudes beneath the the surface banalities. I don't even know how to approach a review of this masterpiece. Suffice it to say that it's a beautifully written tragedy with surprising moments of humor. Nabokov said that no writer created more pathetic characters than Chekov, and certainly this play attests to that, but its greatness is beyond that. This is a case where I don't know how to do the work justice in a review, so I will instead merely give this masterpiece the highest recommendation possible.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nissy

    At least they knew what they wanted ... Moscow Moscow Moscow ...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma

    Aiyayaya... Such a beautiful gem. I don't know whether I really know Chekhov. This is what I needed for the great introduction. A masterful play, it leaves your heart wondering what to do for your life. The book tells the story of three sisters and one brother. Life to them, like to me and I believe to most of humanity is full of unforseen challenges. At times we wish we had sign posts to direct us to where we should go. But our direction, as stated by Checkov is determined by out faith and Aiyayaya... Such a beautiful gem. I don't know whether I really know Chekhov. This is what I needed for the great introduction. A masterful play, it leaves your heart wondering what to do for your life. The book tells the story of three sisters and one brother. Life to them, like to me and I believe to most of humanity is full of unforseen challenges. At times we wish we had sign posts to direct us to where we should go. But our direction, as stated by Checkov is determined by out faith and without it we are dead. However, most of us are not taught how to live, how to love, and how to behave even. As seen in the novel, happiness is as elusive as God Himself. Love is a rare commodity and marriage is entered into with the notion of responsibility and respect. We marry just because to live without it means to be lonely and that is tantamount to death. But marriage is also very difficult and may lead to death. It is a constant fight for attention and joy which left our domain long time ago. Anton Checkov, thank you.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    THREE SISTERS by Anton Chekhov, translated from the Russian by Laurence Senelick, 1901 original, English edition 2010 My first reading of Chekhov's plays... And alas, no gun in the first act that shows up later - must be another one of his numerous plays that relies on this well-known device! This four-act play centers on the lives of 3 bourgeois sisters (and 1 brother who doesn't get title billing, I guess?) in fin de siecle Russia. It's a salon tragicomedy, most of it taking place with witty THREE SISTERS by Anton Chekhov, translated from the Russian by Laurence Senelick, 1901 original, English edition 2010 My first reading of Chekhov's plays... And alas, no gun in the first act that shows up later - must be another one of his numerous plays that relies on this well-known device! This four-act play centers on the lives of 3 bourgeois sisters (and 1 brother who doesn't get title billing, I guess?) in fin de siecle Russia. It's a salon tragicomedy, most of it taking place with witty banter and philosophizing in the various sitting rooms of their provincial manor. Very melodramatic. There's a lot of tears over trivial matters, some laughs, and some little twists along the way. I learned from the lengthy introduction and translators notes (my goldmine! Love the supplementals!) that this later play was commissioned and written specifically for certain actors at Moscow Art Theatre in 1901. In fact, the actress that played one of the sisters - "Masha" - married Chekhov a few months after the play debuted, and was with him until his death a few years later. The translator notes that Chekhov is notoriously hard to translate, as he relies on a multitude of literary and popular references, and linguistic rhymes and meter that don't work outside of Russian language. This Norton edition had prodigious footnotes and references, thankfully providing the context. Many characters refer to Russian, Latin, and French literature, sing popular songs of the time... Things that would be lost on many contemporary readers without the notes. Never ceases to amaze me how much work translation is... So much more than just the words on the page, but the entire context. We think of all the popular film, music, and literary references in books now - have you ever considered how these will age? Will future editions of these books need extensive notes to explain references to Star Wars, Marvel, Game of Thrones, Beyonce, and Stephen King? Very likely... For those few titles that endure and make that classic canon distinction.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    "Three Sisters" has lasted over a hundred years in the fickle world of dramatic literature for one simple reason; because it matters. This is a play that touches on the very essence of what it means to be human, and how our choices (or lack thereof) can make life feel like prison. Through a large ensemble cast Anton Chekhov gives us many different prisms to choose to view life through. The trick is that regardless of which ideology or prism you value, you still have to actually live your life. "Three Sisters" has lasted over a hundred years in the fickle world of dramatic literature for one simple reason; because it matters. This is a play that touches on the very essence of what it means to be human, and how our choices (or lack thereof) can make life feel like prison. Through a large ensemble cast Anton Chekhov gives us many different prisms to choose to view life through. The trick is that regardless of which ideology or prism you value, you still have to actually live your life. It does not just happen to you. The play revolves around the Prozorov home in provincial Russia late in the 1800s. In this house we see the lives of four siblings (a brother and the three sisters of the title) their in-laws and other relatives, soldiers, lovers, servants, and coworkers played out over a 4-5 year period. What is so astonishing to the reader is how static and stationary their lives seem to be, and yet when you reflect on your own life most of us will find the similarities unnerving, and possibly quite unpleasant. Chekhov seems to be saying that life is the everyday simple things that happen to us. What makes life either grand or mundane is how we react to everyday things. This is something that every self aware adult struggles with on their journey through this world. One could write entire papers about the philosophies of life and existence contained in this play. I won't attempt it here. I will simply say that this is a very powerful theatrical experience in the hands of a superior theatre company. It would be deadly dull in the hands of amateurs, so be careful where you view it. However, reading it on your own (or even better in a book club) will yield many pleasant discoveries about yourself and force you into some serious self reflection. Not bad things at all. A side note on the new version by actress/ writer Susan Coyne. It is a lovely translation with some modern vernacular that makes the play slightly more accessible to an English speaking audience.

  29. 5 out of 5

    J

    More random observations than reviews: If you're casting three female title characters and they will all be talking together, you really need to cast people who have distinctively different voices. However, nonetheless, yet again Chekhov writes a play filled with indolent aristocrats, peasants, and the newly arrived middle classes and how they come together. Scenes like when Natasha, the wife, rages at Nanny the old servant who has been with the family for 30 years, are painfully ugly and show a More random observations than reviews: If you're casting three female title characters and they will all be talking together, you really need to cast people who have distinctively different voices. However, nonetheless, yet again Chekhov writes a play filled with indolent aristocrats, peasants, and the newly arrived middle classes and how they come together. Scenes like when Natasha, the wife, rages at Nanny the old servant who has been with the family for 30 years, are painfully ugly and show a certain pricking of the nouveau riche (not that Chekhov spared the aristocrats any).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Markus

    Les Trois Sœurs (The Three Sisters) published 1900 By Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) In a letter to his brother, Anton Chekhov set out his following guidelines for writing literature: 1. Absence of lengthy verbiage of political-social-economic nature; 2. Total objectivity; 3. Truthful descriptions of persons and objects; 4. Extreme brevity; 5. Audacity and originality; flee the stereotype; 6. Compassion." When reading this short play, The Three Sisters,' I could well see what he was aiming at. The decorum Les Trois Sœurs (The Three Sisters) published 1900 By Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) In a letter to his brother, Anton Chekhov set out his following guidelines for writing literature: 1. Absence of lengthy verbiage of political-social-economic nature; 2. Total objectivity; 3. Truthful descriptions of persons and objects; 4. Extreme brevity; 5. Audacity and originality; flee the stereotype; 6. Compassion." When reading this short play, ‘The Three Sisters,' I could well see what he was aiming at. The decorum for the play is a simple living room of an apartment with several doors leading to adjacent bedrooms. The principal actors are Olga, Macha and Irina, the three sisters and their brother Andreï and his wife, Natalia. Then there are several elegant military officers with unpronounceable names. There is a constant coming and going for no or little reason. Dialogs are taking place without ever coming to any conclusion. The only perceivable and permanent objective of the narrative seems to be the endless regrets, sobbing and crying by the sisters for their birth- and hometown Moscow. They all now live in an obscure garrison town at the far end of the big Russian continent. They feel like foreigners and like an educated elite social class, not adaptable to this rough environment. There is no action whatsoever in this play. The only events taking place, like the fire in the neighborhood, and the outcome of a fatal duel, all come into the scene by rumors from the outside. But changes can be observed, slowly taking place from Scene 1 to Scene 4, in the contents of the dialogs. Little by little the tree sisters are adapting to their different opportunities. They realize that real life is replacing their dreams and that there is no escaping from destiny. It sounds like a tribute to, I believe, a typical trait of Russian character, bearing life whichever way it comes and accepting destiny. As a play, this can undoubtedly be, depending on the actors, a pleasant tragedy to watch, but as a book, it seems short and dull.

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