Chekhov at Warp Speed

Anton Chekhov is not an easy sell for the YouTube generation. The Russian playwright and author specialized in drawn-out tragedy that mirrored real life in his native country around the turn of the 20th century. His plays move slowly, and they include lengthy conversations between characters that, over time, add up to his view of humanity. (You can probably tell it wasn’t a particularly good view.) To pull the playwright into the modern era, avant-garde Russian director Oleg Liptsin turns one of Chekhov’s classics – Three Sisters – on its head. He cuts it nearly in half and adds digital technology. The result? Three Sisters. Final Cut. The play tells the story of the sisters – Olya, Masha, and Irina – as well as their brother Andrey and his wife Natasha. It follows their hopes and dreams, which ultimately fade into bad marriages, insults, affairs, and colossal disappointment. The original play contains four acts, but in this “freely adapted” production the actors perform only the first and last in their entirety. Screens with live video are set up to show simultaneous happenings in different rooms with other characters. During intermission, crucial parts of the middle two acts are shown on film – with the same actors, on the same set – so audience members will have some idea of what’s transpired before the finale. And to pacify those who can’t wait, some of the intermission footage has already been placed on YouTube.
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Oct. 21. Continues through Nov. 17, 2010

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