Yes, Yes to Art Street

When San Francisco’s Art Street Theatre staged Yes, Yes to Moscow, its riff on Chekhov’s Three Sisters, at Berlin’s Deutsches Theater last fall, German audiences were caught off guard. Many productions of the famous, emotionally suffocating drama about a family’s desire to leave behind their dull provincial life for what they hope will be a brighter future in the Russian capital are ponderous affairs set in musty, velvet-draped drawing rooms and packed with emphatic pauses. As a people who take their theater very, very seriously, Germans like their Chekhov more heavy, wordy, and intellectual than most. Yet the response to the wildly physical, bilingual, and buoyant adaptation, which imagines what transpires after Chekhov’s titular siblings make it to Moscow, was overwhelmingly positive. According to Art Street’s artistic director Mark Jackson, the show sold out its run, and the American-German cast and crew took multiple curtain calls after each performance. American audiences may feel more of an affinity for the company’s mischievously kinesthetic approach when the production hits the city this week, but the offbeat combination of European and U.S. sensibilities will no doubt affect local theatergoers in unexpected ways.
May 30-June 1, 7 p.m., 2008

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