‘Three Sisters’ to show at Oregon State
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 02:02
Anton Chekhov’s Russian drama, “Three Sisters,” will play a part of Oregon State University Theatre’s 2013 Season of Style. Director Elizabeth Helman said this year’s season focuses on literary value and historical significance.
Although the play first premiered in 1901, the production of “Three Sisters” at OSU will be set a few years later, around 1911. Helman said by moving it up a few years, the immediacy and seriousness of the play is set in motion, with the Russian Revolution and World War I right around the corner.
The classic family drama centers on the actions of four siblings, three sisters and a brother. After their father dies, the Prozorov siblings learn to take responsibility of their own lives and face many challenges along the way.
According to Helman, heroes and villains are nonexistent in Chekhov’s play. The naturalistic style of the play allows the audience to view little snippets of the characters’ lives, much like many of today’s dramas. As viewers drop in on these characters’ lives, they can obtain perspectives of how these characters have grown or changed over a period of time.
“It’s a play about people learning who they are and figuring out: What the hell are they going to do with their lives?” Helman said. “This is a really, really good play for college students to see.”
Characters like Masha, played by Anna Mahaffey, appear to be self-centered and arrogant.
“She cares about how pretty she looks, and she’s very dissatisfied with the choice of her husband,” Mahaffey said. “She’s got this struggle going on with her husband and she’s got issues with family.”
But as the play progresses, Masha realizes the rights and wrongs of her decisions and the effects her decisions have imposed on her family.
Irina, on the other hand, has a different complexity from her sisters. Played by Richelle Jean-Bart, Irina dreams of going to Moscow, hoping to find happiness and love in a bigger city.
“She’s sassy, incredibly smart, knows lots of languages and she’s a very big dreamer,” Jean-Bart said.
Like many college students, Irina dreams of going away from home and seeking a new life in a different environment.
The eldest sibling, Andrei, played by Michael Beaton, faces his own troubles as he strives to be a respectable older brother and breadwinner. His gambling addiction and poor choices create both sad and humorous situations.
“Three Sisters” is a mixture of tragedy and comedy.
“The way that this drama is presented and written is really fascinating, how you can go from one emotion to another,” Mahaffey said.
Audience members should expect a wide array of emotional reactions.
“It gives them the rollercoaster of emotions that most of us, at one point or another, have gone through,” said Megan Grassl, who plays Olga.
Helman said that Chekhov’s characters are very human. They’re full of flaws and mistakes, representing many different people in reality.
“I hope [the audience] can gain a sense of empathy for very flawed people and find something they can relate to in it,” Helman said.
“Three Sisters,” opens to the public at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14-16 and 22-23, and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 24 on the Withycombe Main Stage, located on 30th and Campus Way.
Tickets are $12 for general audience members, $10 for seniors, $8 youth/students and $5 for OSU students.
Katherine Choi, news reporter